Riccardo Spagni, the former Monero lead maintainer, has been released from prison. He was held in jail for several weeks by U.S. authorities in connection with a court case in South Africa.
Riccardo tweeted about his release and relief upon being released, releasing a statement on his Twitter handle stating,
“I am very pleased that the U.S. court has released me. I am actively working with my attorneys on the way to return to South Africa as soon as possible, so I can address this matter and get it behind me once and for all. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”
Allegations Of Fraud
According to several reports in the press, the court documents showed that Spagni was involved in a court case regarding several allegations of fraud against him. The court case made allegations that Spagni committed invoice payment fraud back when he was working as an I.T. Manager for a cookie company called Cape Cookies.
A Flawed Case, According To Lawyers
Spagni’s lawyers also put out a statement, responding to the original filing and allegations, calling the case a “fatally flawed case.”
“Throughout the decade that South Africa has investigated, charged, dismissed, re-investigated, and re-charged a fatally flawed case against him, Spagni regularly and routinely appeared in South African court and communicated with authorities there regarding both his case and other legal matters upon which South Africa enlisted his assistance.”
After the arrest and release, another message started circulating on Twitter that claimed that Spagni was arrested due to a mix-up over court dates.
The Charges Against Spagni
Riccardo Spagni has had these charges against him since 2011, alleging that he had committed fraud by issuing fake invoices when he was an I.T. manager for Cape Cookies and defrauding his former employers to the tune of $100,000. Court documents state that Spagni allegedly used the fake invoices that he obtained from another company, Esync, and rerouted payments to his bank account, along with inflating prices for Cape Cookies products. Spagni faces extradition to South Africa under the current charges.
U.S. Courts Previously Denied Bail
Earlier, a U.S. court denied Spagni bail ahead of his extradition hearing; Spagni was considered a high-flight risk due to his personal wealth amounting to $800,000. Spagni was being held in the custody of the U.S. Marshals without a bond due to his flight risk. The judge, while denying bail, stated,
“Had Spagni notified the South African court of his situation...or had Spagni taken any steps to acknowledge that he was required to appear on the charges against him and needed to remedy his anticipated absence—the court might reach a different conclusion. He did not, and so the court finds that Spagni has not established by clear and convincing evidence that he poses no risk of flight and would appear at future court proceedings.”
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