A Brazilian crypto businessman who allegedly arranged his former lawyer’s murder rather than pay the man a R$2.5 million ($471,965) bitcoin debt remains jailed after Brazil’s Supreme Court rejected his request for freedom.

  • The First Panel of Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear defendant Danilo Afonso Pechin’s habeas corpus plea in connection with the execution-style murder of his lawyer Francisco Assis Henrique Neto Rocha.
  • Pechin, a partner of the defunct crypto investments manager Valour Invest, which Brazilian media described as a pyramid scheme, was arrested in August 2019 on suspicion he paid hitmen R$500,000 to kill Rocha. Gunmen ambushed and murdered Rocha at a São Paulo gas station in June 2019.  
  • In a press statement, the Court said prosecutors allege Pechin owed Rocha R$2.5 million “due to the sale of bitcoins” at the time of Rocha’s death. They cited that debt as the motive for Rocha’s murder. 
  • A lower court had previously rejected Pechin’s request for freedom after finding “strong evidence” he participated in the Rocha murder. Though initially complicated by a preliminary injunction, the plea denial now stands.
  • The investigation into Rocha’s death is ongoing.

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