The judge of the National audience José Luis Calama has assumed the investigation of which he himself considers “the largest pyramid scheme in relation to investing in cryptocurrency“from Spain. This is the one carried out through the company Arbistar 2.0, whose instruction was sent to Madrid by a court in Arona (Tenerife). victims of this scam stands at 1,127, but it is calculated that it could reach 32,000 by the number of accounts affected. As for the economic damage, which currently stands at more than 41 million euros, it is believed that it could exceed 100 million euros.
In his order of admission, the head of the Central Court of Instruction 4 accuses the investigated, under the direction of the sole administrator of Arbistar, Santiago Fuentes Jover, the crimes of andAggravated stafa, criminal organization and continued crime of forgery in commercial document. The judge points out that those investigated, through that company, whose corporate purpose is “the development and promotion of semi-automated cryptocurrency applications,” allegedly concocted a fraud scheme in the cryptocurrency market.
In exchange for returns of between 8% and 15% per month, which were paid weekly, always on Saturdays, with the option to refund everything contributed, investors had to open a virtual wallet on a cryptocurrency trading platform located in San Francisco, which they stopped controlling when they gave it to Arbistar.
“But what this plot allegedly did was use a part of the money obtained from investors to deliver it to other previous investors in payment of the high agreed interest, which generated great confidence in them that their investment was safe and very profitable, in such a way that they encouraged themselves to invest a greater amount of money in the hope of obtaining an even greater profit, ”he says.
“Friend plan” for new clients
The pyramid scheme was completed not only so that those who had already invested contributed more money, but also to attract new people to invest money by seeing the almost immediate benefits that previous investors received. The latter were offered the “friend plan”, by which those who managed to include new clients received compensation. In this way, the company, based on marketing programs, managed to grow exponentially.
The problem arose in August last year when several investors requested to withdraw their funds and their request was not honored, because their money was not replaced by that of new clients. The investigations initiated in a court in Arona have determined that there may have been injured in more than 30 provincial hearings, which added to the fact that the injury, currently encrypted at 41,481,766 euros, but which can exceed 100 million euros, make the competence of the National Court evident “without ambiguity,” says the magistrate.