Trader Gustavo Torres González, 39, was murdered after his kidnappers did not receive the required Bitcoin ransom.
The crime took place last Wednesday (11), in the state of Zulia, located about 650 kilometers from Caracas, Venezuela.
According to local media, the kidnappers contacted the merchant’s relatives and asked for cryptocurrencies to free him.
However, the family was unable to gather all the requested amount. So they offered the kidnappers what value they had, but they lost contact with the criminals, who ended up killing González.
Hijackers required 1.5 Bitcoin
González was kidnapped on August 10, as he arrived at his home in Taparito, in the town of Tía Juana, in his car. His body, with six firearm perforations, was located at dawn on Thursday (11) in the same municipality.
Unofficial sources informed that criminals demanded payment of 1.5 Bitcoin to release the hostage. In other words, around R$365,700, at the current price in reais.
Then they would have reduced the required amount to 0.5 BTC (BRL 121,900). Even so, the merchant’s relatives were unable to gather the value.
They only collected 0.062 BTC, equivalent to R$ 15,115, which apparently was not enough for criminals.
Authorities believe that those responsible for the merchant’s abduction and death may have been people close to the victim, due to the way they acted.
It is not clear whether the victim had any direct relationship with cryptocurrency, whether through mining, trading or whether he accepted it as a means of payment in his trade.
Extortion and ransom in Bitcoin
Venezuela is the Latin American country with the highest adoption of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, according to Chainalysis.
This popularity ends up attracting the interest of criminals who see digital coins as a possibility to try to hide their criminal tracks.
But other South American countries such as Mexico, Colombia and even Brazil have already registered cases of this type.
In 2019, as reported by CriptoFácil, São Paulo police were accused of extortion through kidnapping involving Bitcoin. The amount required was around R$1 million.
Last year, a trader who had been kidnapped in Argentina paid 4 Bitcoins to be released. Initially, the kidnappers requested 56.5 BTC. However, after negotiations it was reduced to 4 BTC.
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