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Brazilian Probe Unearths ‘Money Laundering’ at ‘Obscure’ Crypto Exchange – Militias Turning to Crypto?

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read
Two Brazilian real banknotes on a laundry line, attached with clothes pegs.
Source: RHJ/Adobe

A notorious Brazilian militia group reportedly moved thousands of USD worth of money and coins through an “obscure” domestic crypto exchange.

Per reports from O Globo and Portal do Bitcoin, the Public Ministry of Rio de Janeiro (MPRJ) believes that the Tandera Militia “laundered money” through an exchange named Tradingpfx Ecommerce.

The trading platform now appears to be defunct and its channels have all been taken offline.

Brazilian militias are criminal, illegal paramilitary units and most were originally formed in the 1980s.

They are often made up of former soldiers and police officers – Tandera Militia is thought to be commanded by figures including Danilo Dias Lima.

The Brazilian government says that Danilo Dias Lima has “laundered money from criminal activity carried out by the militia.”

Government officials say he has “acquired luxury goods, such as mansions, racehorses, and cars” with militia funds.

But an MPRJ-police operation this month saw officers arrest six suspected militia members, and carry out 25 searches.

Brazilian Militias Adopting Crypto?

As part of the searches, officers said they unearthed evidence about another suspected Tandera affiliate, Marcelo Morais dos Santos.

Santos, officers said, “moved more than $32,000 worth of funds” in crypto via Tradingpfx Ecommerce.

Officers said Santos made the moves “between September of last year and March of this year.”

And officers claimed that “a financial operator” and “partner” of the crypto firm also “took part in the transactions.”

Police said that they had evidence this individual was placed in charge of laundering militia money “both via cryptocurrencies and through traditional investments.”

Police explained that the raids were made as part of “Operation Epilogue,” which it launched last week in conjunction with the ministry.

Officers said their investigations were focused on militia-linked extortion, homicide, usury, and money laundering.

They said these alleged crimes had been carried out “mainly” in the municipalities of Rio de Janeiro, Nova Iguaçu, Queimados, and Seropédica.

Last month, the suspected organizers of a Brazilian crypto scam ring fled overseas after raising around $178 million in investments from around 7,500 people.