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The Supreme Court orders the National Court to investigate the ‘Nimbus case’ for a possible cryptocurrency millionaire scam | Economy

Representation of bitcoins.
Representation of bitcoins.DADO RUVIC (REUTERS)

The National Court must take on the investigation surrounding Nimbus, a Malta-based company accused of weaving a plot to divert the money invested in cryptocurrencies by hundreds of savers, many of whom reside in Spain. After months of waiting, the Supreme Court has ordered this judicial body to take over the investigations. The magistrates have appreciated indications of a possible crime of fraud, as have the Prosecutor’s Office and the Civil Guard, which have come to estimate the fraud at more than 135.8 million dollars (more than 125 million euros).

The decision of the Supreme Court reactivates a case that had been paralyzed in 2021, waiting to resolve who should continue with the investigations, which began almost a year ago in a Huelva court after a complaint from an individual. Now, through a letter dated March 16, to which EL PAÍS has had access, the high court concludes that, “from the proceedings, it is deduced that the facts investigated fall within the crime of fraud” and, after analyze the international nature of the alleged plot, explains that the Court must assume jurisdiction.

“The domicile of the company Nimbus Platform LTD, the author of the facts, is in Malta. The complaint was also directed against various people who held positions in said company, two of them residing in Madrid (Andrea Zanon, [un exconsultor del Banco Mundial identificado como el antiguo consejero delegado de la compañía] and Javier García Madruga)”, present the list of magistrates who have resolved the case: Julián Sánchez Melgar, Ana María Ferrer and Leopoldo Puente.

Although Nimbus has repeatedly defended her innocence — even denying the existence of the investigation itself that puts her in the crosshairs and threatening journalists with lawsuits — the Prosecutor’s Office attributes to her a system of “malicious fundraising” for her subsequent diversion. According to the public ministry, which goes so far as to speak of a “criminal organization”, the company offered savers to manage their bitcoin portfolios with the promise that their “revaluation” would later translate into a distribution of profits. But they had no intention of complying, according to the prosecution.

Italian financier Andrea Zanon, linked to Nimbus and former CEO of the company, according to the company itself, in a file image.
Italian financier Andrea Zanon, linked to Nimbus and former CEO of the company, according to the company itself, in a file image.

The prosecutor maintains that Nimbus, which he describes as a pyramid scheme, made an effort to “generate sufficient capital to maintain for a long time the appearance of an investment activity capable of reporting and supporting profits that the first depositors could consider legitimate.” Then, there came a time when his financial activity ceased, and the investments “were left without support.” EL PAÍS contacted the company on Tuesday to pick up its version again. “At Nimbus, we trust that the courts and judicial institutions of Spain will determine the truth. We are available to answer any questions from a competent authority. We trust our track record, and our products and services speak for themselves.”

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In its resolution, the Supreme Court adds that, after inquiries by the Civil Guard, it was reported that Nimbus offered “investment services in an automated cryptocurrency system between exchange houses […], promising a fixed return per day based on the capital contributed by the investor”. On October 9, 2020, according to the summary, the company “suspended all its operations, blocking capital withdrawals and benefit payments, without it having been possible to withdraw the deposited funds to date.” To make matters worse, the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) warned in November of that year that said entity “is not authorized to provide the investment services provided for in the Securities Market Law.”

three courts

The Supreme Court’s decision thus marks a turning point in a long legal battle. The case began in April 2021 in a court in Huelva, where an individual reported that he had been scammed after investing 9,000 euros on the platform. As a result of the reports from the Prosecutor’s Office and the Civil Guard, the Huelva magistrate decided to send the case to the National High Court. This fell to the Central Court of Instruction 6, which rejected the competition last September. But the process was then raised to the high court, which explains that two other local courts of instruction – number 8 in Barcelona and number 9 in Granada – were also inhibited in favor of the Court.

During the investigations, the Prosecutor’s Office and the Civil Guard informed the Huelva judge that they wanted to intervene the millionaire funds located in 41 electronic addresses linked to Nimbus, where they calculated that there were up to 288 bitcoins, whose value exceeds 10 million euros with the current price. . With this measure, the researchers wanted to prevent a part of the allegedly scammed money from disappearing and that the armed institute would have managed to find by following the trail of cryptocurrency movements generated around the platform.

According to the investigations, Nimbus was not dedicating itself to “buying and selling” bitcoins in search of profitability, but rather “was transferring them to third parties, applying laundering techniques to them.” In addition, the public ministry deepened, the Civil Guard detected “multiple aggregate transfers” that try to prevent the trace of bitcoins from being followed. “This is an activity that makes no sense from the investment point of view and all the utility under the prism of money laundering,” the accusation clinched.

The Prosecutor’s Office has even compared the Nimbus case with the pyramid scheme created by former directors of Afinsa through the sale of stamps. Lawyer and former prosecutor Carlos Aránguez, who represents a group of alleged victims and who promoted the case, defined Nimbus as “a very sophisticated pyramid scheme, in which complex containment mechanisms are used to delay the collapse of the structure: the Investors were offered all kinds of alternatives to delay the return of their funds”. For his part, the company charges against this lawyer, to whom he attributes a defamation campaign.

The Court maintains other similar investigations open for alleged fraud with cryptocurrencies: the Arbistar cases, algorithms Y kualian. In these summaries, the investigators calculated the damage at more than 350 million euros and estimated those affected in the tens of thousands. According to the different investigations, high levels of profitability were offered to attract savers.

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