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Australian Craig Wright sued for $5 billion worth of bitcoin

Andrew Munro 27 February 2018 NEWS

Wright has been accused of stealing billions of dollars from his deceased partner's estate.

Both Craig Wright and David Kleiman were involved in bitcoin from the early days, Business Insider reports, with Wright once claiming to be the anonymous bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto. He even offered to prove it but was unable to follow through.

In those early days, they reportedly accrued about 1.1 million bitcoin between them through the US-based company W&K Info Defense Research LLC, which Kleiman incorporated in 2011 for the purpose of mining bitcoin.

The company was wound up after Kleiman's death in 2013, and the bitcoin it had mined were dispersed among trusts around the world the suit alleges.

"Various documents including private emails and transcripts from 2014 Australian Tax Office meetings with Craig, his counsel, and his accountant evidence Dave and Craig owned and controlled over 1,100,000 Bitcoins," the suit says.

At current prices, the total would be worth over $10 billion, representing about 5% of all bitcoin in existence.

"To accomplish this scheme, he drafted and backdated at least three contracts to create a paper trail purporting to document that many of Dave’s bitcoins and IP rights were to be transferred, sold, and/or returned to himself," the suit alleges.

The suit also involves email correspondence between Craig Wright and Dave's brother Ira Kleiman, quoting:

"In one of the email exchanges between Dave and you, he mentioned that you had 1 million Bitcoins in the trust and since you said he has 300,000 as his part. I was figuring the other 700,000 is yours. Is that correct?" Ira Kleiman wrote.

"Around that. Minus what was needed for the company’s use," Wright replied.

The truth will have to be decided in the lawsuit, but anyone who wants to make snap character judgments about whether Wright is really the kind of guy who would steal a fortune from his dead partner's estate can find a prolific Wright on Twitter as @ProfFaustus.


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Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VEN, XLM, SALT and BTC.

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