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Man Accused of Arranging Murder to Avoid Crypto Debt Can’t Escape Jail, Brazilian Court Rules

Crypto businessman Danilo Afonso Pechin remains jailed after Brazil's High Court refused to hear his request for freedom.

Aug 5, 2020 at 9:40 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:40 a.m. UTC

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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