The charges brought against Fluffypony allege that he committed fraud by issuing fake invoices in his pre-Monero days. He faces extradition to South Africa under the current charges.
Non-Crypto Fraud Charges From 2011
The former developer of privacy-focused cryptocurrency Monero has been accused of defrauding his former employer, Cape Cookies, by generating false invoices worth approximately $100,000. According to court documents, he allegedly used fake invoices obtained from another company Ensync to reroute payment to his bank account between 2009-2011. He also allegedly inflated prices for Cape Cookies’ products.
After Spagni failed to show up for a court date in Cape Town back in April, South African officials issued an arrest warrant for him. He was arrested by US authorities in Nashville, while on his way to Mexico from New York City. According to the court documents, because of his high crypto assets amounting to approximately $800,000, Spagni is a flight risk. Therefore he is being held in the custody of the US Marshals Service without bond, till his extradition hearing, the date for which is yet to be set.
Crypto-Lawyer Building Solid Defence
As his defence counsel, Spagni has hired renowned crypto-lawyer Brian Klein, who had previously represented other crypto bigwigs like Erik Voorhees and Charlie Shrem. Klein has filed a motion requesting Spagni’s release on bail till his extradition hearing. He claimed that the US government has misrepresented the facts and the law in the matter. Plus he claimed that there is a lack of evidence and a faulty prosecution that weakens the case against Spagni. The motion challenges the claims of the US government that Spagni’s offence is high stakes and carries a 20-year sentence. He claims that under South African law Spagni’s alleged offence is only punishable by no more than 60 months in prison.
Twitter Smells Something Fishy
Even though the charges are not crypto-centric, the crypto community at large is protesting his arrest.
Anonymous DeFi investor and founder of Today In DeFi, who goes by the pseudonym Safetythird, commented on Spagni’s arrest,
“if you wonder why founders in crypto, defi like going anon, just look at Fluffypony. Founder of Monero just arrested in Texas for some minor fraud charges from 10 years ago in South Africa.”
Another Twitter user going by the handle Loomdart, demanded the release of Spagni, by tweeting,
“This whole thing is unironically complete bs, very convenient a court from one of the most corrupt countries in the world happens to work together with the US gov to *squints* detain the ex maintainer of monero.”
In the meantime, Spagni’s wife, Saskia, shared a message from him through her Twitter. He claimed he has been held in contempt of court and is awaiting extradition due to a misunderstanding in an old matter from 2011 with regards to the setting of court dates. However, he remains hopeful about being able to resolve the issue shortly and entrusted his business partners with his work responsibilities.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.