Migom Bank has been the center of attention in news pieces since early 2023, and with good reason: its customers have been unable to access their funds, and the company has provided little, if any, information as to why.
Once touted as a rising star, this Dominica-based neobank is now the subject of regulatory scrutiny and increasingly bad reputation. Its journey from hopeful upstart to infamous organization is pockmarked with rushed acquisitions and an inability to connect with its investors, clients, and users. This transformation started to unfold following a service shutdown in early 2023, and since then, the bank has been buried under failure after failure to rebuild its correspondent network, secure fresh capital, and appease frustrated clients.
Recent developments, driven by independent investigators with private support, have shed new light on Migom’s internal decision-making processes. Unfortunately, this newfound information only underscores a pattern of incompetence, recklessness, and a brazen approach to high-stakes investments.
Peeling Back the Layers: A Meeting with New Investors
Frustrating both Migom investors and clients alike, Migom has been almost completely silent about their current problems. Users trying to access their funds are met with simple error messages, and because the bank no longer has a support team, answers are few and far between.
Yet, thanks to the efforts of individuals connected with Migom and its US-based holding company, private investigators uncovered internal communications, photos, and documents that tell a discouraging tale. Through a series of interviews with several Migom employees in Europe and the USA, it appears that a behind-the-scenes investment deal gone awry can explain the banks lack of communication and where missing assets might have gone.
In the later days of Migom’s success, the bank’s executive team was allegedly approached by Carlos Daniel Filho De Magalhaes — a British-Brazilian investor who would later turn out to be associated with several African and Russian oligarchs. He piqued the interest of Migom’s upper management during personal meetings where he promised large investment opportunities. During one such meeting, Magalhaes proposed a conference with several Brazilian and American crypto players. This is where Migom’s management would meet Alex Gomes Cordeiro.
Wild Claims and Broken Promises
Cordeiro, his second-in-command Dalila Costa-Leroy, and a group of self-proclaimed crypto and investment experts made a series of audacious claims during their meeting with Migom’s upper management. Costa-Leroy, who touted her decades-long career on Wall Street and with numerous European banks, positioned herself as an insider of the global banking elite. Meanwhile, Cordeiro presented himself as a self-made billionaire, holder of several university degrees, the world’s largest Bitcoin whale and miner, and even claimed to be a founder of the Shiba Inu (SHIB) cryptocurrency.
Cordeiro expressed interest in becoming a client and investor with Migom, and requested full access to their systems, servers, and wallets to assess the state of their security. He also sought additional perks, including expensive tech and an apartment from which to run his global operations. The bank’s management was interested, and despite objections from multiple financial advisors, access to Migom servers was granted in early April 2023.
The Con Game Unfolds, Communication Ceases
Migom took the bait, verified the deposit of SHIB, and began providing Cordeiro with the requested perks. However, Cordeiro’s promises quickly unraveled as he cited legal issues in Brazil that hindered his ability to fulfill his obligations. Eventually, he vanished, along with the equipment, secure logs he accessed, and Migom’s stored cryptocurrency.
Further investigation into the backgrounds of the other investors revealed that Costa-Leroy had been employed by 11 financial institutions, but her license was suspended by the US-based capital market regulatory organization FINRA. During her tenure at one of these firms, she reportedly embezzled $570,000.
Migom allegedly held nearly $20 million in stablecoins, almost 100 BTC, and over 65 ETH in their cold wallets, the security of which Cordeiro had inspected. Around the time of his disappearance, these funds reportedly disappeared. Migom President Thomas Schaetti, who had been assuring clients that operations would resume shortly, abruptly ceased communication. Migom later claimed a substantial crypto loss and made unfounded accusations of embezzlement by former investors and Russia-based associates.
The Fox in the Henhouse: Migom’s Downward Spiral
Speculation remains rife as Migom maintains a conspicuous lack of transparency regarding its internal operations during this crisis. If the alleged collaboration is verified, it raises concerning questions about potential incompetence that may have allowed the misappropriation of client funds and cryptocurrencies. Investigations, while shrouded in uncertainty, have produced intriguing if upsetting photographic evidence supporting these claims.
In the larger picture, this is yet another chapter in Migom’s continuous downward spiral. The truth will eventually emerge, whether through admission from the bank itself or through legal action. The longer the bank remains silent, the more its reputation will erode. For now, this new information offers Migom’s clients a peek behind the curtain that’s falling on the once promising neobank, and serves as a cautionary tale for investors and financial institutions alike.