A French crypto trader, Thomas Clausi, is currently jailed in Morocco where he was convicted of the crime of purchasing a Ferrari using bitcoin. Clausi’s arrest and subsequent jailing came after a woman, who sold him a Ferrari for $440,000 in April 2021, filed a complaint against the crypto trader when the price of the crypto asset had dropped to just over $30,000.

Crypto Trader Ordered to Pay Fine of $3.7 Million

A 21-year-old Frenchman and crypto trader, Thomas Clausi, is currently serving a jail term in Morocco for allegedly buying a supercar worth $400,000 with bitcoin, a report has said. In addition to slapping Clausi with an 18-month jail term, the Moroccan court also ordered the crypto trader to pay a fine of over $3.7 million (€3.4 million).

According to a report by Gararin News, trouble for the Frenchman began when a woman who sold him a Ferrari for nearly $440,000 filed a fraud case against him. Although Clausi is said to have paid the full amount in April 2021 using BTC, the unnamed woman only filed her complaint in July when the price had dropped. As shown by the crypto asset’s data, during this period, the value of one BTC fell from more than $60,000 seen in mid-April to just over $31,500 by July 17, 2021.

Following the filing of the complaint, authorities in Morocco — where crypto trading is outlawed — are said to have opened an investigation. By October of that year, Clausi was convicted of the crimes of fraud and the “payment with foreign currency on Moroccan territory.” Although the price of BTC did rally to over $40,000 in December, Moroccan authorities were unmoved and still had the Frenchman thrown into prison.

Although Clausi is only left with a few months before he finishes the sentence, his lawyers are reportedly still trying to secure his early release. For instance, in one hearing where they were seeking to have his sentence reduced, the lawyers told the court that Clausi had in the past bought expensive Swiss watches using crypto and that the price of BTC had similarly surged afterwards.

However, instead of reducing the sentence, the Moroccan court still ordered Clausi to reimburse the seller with an equivalent of $4,200 in local currency.

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Terence Zimwara

Terence Zimwara is a Zimbabwe award-winning journalist, author and writer. He has written extensively about the economic troubles of some African countries as well as how digital currencies can provide Africans with an escape route.

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