Santander manager is suspected of embezzling BRL 680,000 from a customer to buy cryptocurrencies

Charlie Taylor

Santander had a claim for compensation against a cryptocurrency brokerage denied by the São Paulo Court of Justice, in a decision published on Thursday (7). During the process, one of the managers of the financial institution became suspected of having participated in a scheme that embezzled almost BRL 700,000 from a customer to buy stablecoins on this exchange, which was not named – the process runs in court secrecy. The decision can still be challenged in higher courts. The bank claims in the lawsuit that the broker would have received these amounts illegally and that it should not have accepted the purchase of cryptocurrencies. But a judge of the São Paulo court ruled that the exchange, which is not named (the process is under judicial secrecy), was not a co-author of the action and did not facilitate what happened in any way. The case began in July 2021, when a Santander account holder received R$ 2 million for the sale of a property. Soon after, he had his access to Internet Banking blocked. The account holder, who is a businessman, then went to a branch of the bank, where the manager released the access. The following day, fraudsters went to the same agency, posing as the businessman’s legal guardians, and transferred R$ 680,000 to an account at Bradesco. With the money, the criminals bought 124,000 USDT (Tether stablecoin) through the exchange. Upon learning of the embezzlement, the customer went to the bank again and Santander recognized that there was fraud, reimbursed the amounts and revealed that the manager who had rehabilitated the entrepreneur’s access had been fired. The suspicion, according to the judge in the case, is that he obtained the passwords and acted in collusion with the fraudsters.

Judicial decision

Santander then decided to sue the exchange that received the amounts. At first, the Justice of São Paulo determined the blocking of the broker’s accounts. But now, deciding on the merits of the case, the judge understood that the exchange was not at fault and raised a series of questions to justify the decision: “Why would the defendant (brokerage), a participant, would have directed the proceeds of crime to the account directly linked to itself, whose bank details were readily known by the author banking institution? Why would you continue to use that account to conduct your business? Why would you leave a millionaire balance in your own account within the reach of a notorious cooperation mechanism between the Judiciary and the National Financial System? Now, it makes sense that criminals invested in an enterprise as complex as it is paced were fast enough to preach it, in its entirety, in the (non-existent) technical difficulty of identifying the immediate recipient of a TED and, even less, to leave resources freely to the scope of financial foreclosure”. The TJ-SP states that the case revolves around whether the broker became rich without just cause and acted with negligence. “The answer is negative for both,” the decision points out.

suspicious manager

According to the Justice, the evidence points to the former manager of Santander, Douglas Raphael Santana, as the main suspect. And the ruling underscores that the bank makes no reservations that its former employee is the prime suspect. According to the text of the process 1085781-32.2021.8.26.0100, it would have been Douglas who called the client and asked him to go to the agency to have the accesses released. The manager made the businessman put his passwords on the agency’s computer and, according to the records, it is likely that at that moment he gained access to the funds. “Once the obscurely blocked access was reestablished, the following day, the news of improper transfers through improper user authorization came. Immediately afterwards, the relationship manager left the bank’s staff”, states the decision. Sought, Santander stated that “it understands that the defendant is responsible for civil compensation, under the terms of article 932, V, of the Civil Code and, for that reason, will appeal the decision”. The report also tries to contact the former manager to obtain his position on the court decision. If he chooses to speak, the text of this article will be updated with the answer.

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