A Brazilian man who grabbed headlines after being charged with one of Brazil’s biggest scams has been denied candidacy in an upcoming election. Known as ‘Bitcoin Pharaoh,’ he is alleged to have defrauded over 27,000 investors in a pyramid scheme that promised 10% monthly returns.
The man, whose real name is Glaidson Acácio dos Santos, wanted to vie for a federal deputy candidate position under the Christian Democratic Party in the upcoming October 2 elections that pit the incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro against former president Luiz Lula da Silva.
However, the Regional Electoral Court of Rio de Janeiro (TRE-RJ) has unanimously ruled against dos Santos, denying him the opportunity to be on the ticket in two weeks’ time.
According to one local report, the court pointed to the Pharaoh’s digital currency scamming past and links to other crimes—including murder—as the key reason for its objection.
“This court of ours has already decided that the norm cannot be interpreted in a restricted way, and serious stains on the previous life of candidates, especially when they aim to attack the foundations of the Republic, must be sufficient to justify the rejection of candidacies,” Judge Luiz Paulo da Silva Araújo Filho stated.
As CoinGeek reported in August 2021, dos Santos was arrested under Operation Krypto, in which authorities seized $29 million in the biggest seizure of its kind in Brazil. The operation also led to the arrest of some of the key people at G.A.S. Consulting & Technology, a company that dos Santos founded in 2015.
Dos Santos reportedly quit his job as a waiter in 2015 to venture into digital asset trading, and in two years, he was processing millions of dollars for his clients. He lured them with promises of 10% monthly returns and consistent demonizing of the mainstream financial institutions.
“Instead of giving you a crumb of the cake, I’m going to give you a slice,” was his popular rallying call.
By the time of his arrest, it was suspected that he had received at least $7 billion from investors in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro initially, but later from as far as Portugal and the U.K.
A scammer to some, the Messiah to others
Aside from the scamming, the Bitcoin Pharaoh is accused of one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder. With the first, he allegedly ordered a hit on a rival stealing his clients with promises of 20% monthly returns. He also ordered hits on two other rivals, but they survived, with one miraculously escaping certain death after his car was sprayed with over 40 bullets.
Dos Santos is currently in jail in Rio de Janeiro as he awaits trial on murder, attempted murder, racketeering, financial crimes, and more.
Despite his notoriety, he’s still very popular in his hometown, which is probably why he wanted to run for office.
According to the Associated Press, people in Rio think of him as a humble black man who was able to game a financial system created by and for elite whites. His constant preaching against this system only endeared him more to the people who celebrated him like a hero, despite stealing $7 billion from them. Even in prison, he held to his message, writing a letter to his supporters in which he claimed the authorities “are prohibiting me from paying you.”
“If he wanted to run for mayor, governor even, he’d win,” Gilson Silva do Carmo, a Rio resident who was one of Pharaoh’s victims, told AP. Carmo had invested $7,000 in the scheme, which, as he revealed later, was half his entire life savings.
The Pharaoh’s popularity became clear when a big crowd gathered in protest outside one of Brazil’s TV networks, demanding that the network cease covering the news of the scam and its victims. This crowd once again gathered outside the court during one of his hearings to demand his release.
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