Craig Wright, an Australian businessperson and Bitcoin enthusiast who claims to be the elusive inventor of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, has lost a bid to have a lawsuit filed against him in Florida courts dismissed.
The suit claims that Wright absconded with between 300 000 and 1.1 million bitcoins as well as intellectual property belonging to Dave Kleiman following Kleiman’s death in 2013.
1.1 bitcoins have a current market value of $3.9 billion dollars.
Wright hails from Australia and Kleiman was a resident of Palm Beach, Florida when the two were collaborating.
Wright filed the motion to dismiss the suit in April of this year, but US federal judge Beth Bloom determined on December 27th that Wright will have to answer to the claims regarding the missing bitcoins.
Claims regarding the intellectual property allegedly stolen by Wright, however, have now lapsed under the statute of limitations.
Wright is regarded by a majority of Bitcoiners as a conman. He has so far been unable to prove that he created Bitcoin though he did manage to convince early Bitcoin proponent Roger Ver that he was the inventor for some time.
Ver and Wright collaborated for about a year on the creation of the Bitcoin Cash network, a contentious and politicized “fork” (code copy) of the original Bitcoin blockchain.
Ver recently parted company with Wright and has stated publicly that he was likely duped, and Wright has now gone on to fork the Bitcoin Cash blockchain itself to create his own coin called Bitcoin Cash SV.
Details revealed in the judge’s order allege that Wright took possession of all the Bitcoins he and Kleiman mined together while partners when Kleiman’s died:
“The Amended Complaint alleges that after Dave’s death, Craig unlawfully and without permission took control of the Bitcoins from the Estate and from W&K once he had exclusive possession over the private keys necessary to own, move, or sell the Bitcoins belonging to Dave and/or W&K…and then claimed to own Bitcoins really owned by W&K and/or Dave by creating a series of fraudulent contracts and documents.”
The complaint against Wright has alleged that because Wright controls the trusts where he allegedly moved the Bitcoins, the exact number of missing Bitcoins is yet to be determined.
However, “the Amended Complaint contends that the Estate is entitled to at least 300,000 bitcoins, along with their forked assets (additional coins created on different networks since the original coins were mined).”
The Florida complaint against Wright even alleges he, “forged and backdated several contracts to create a fraudulent ‘paper trail’ purporting to show that Dave transferred Bitcoins and intellectual property rights belonging to Dave and W&K to Craig,” and then went on to present these forged documents to the Australian Tax Authority.
Those documents allegedly indicate that Wright moved the coins into trusts in Seychelles, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, where he now resides after allegedly “fleeing” the scrutiny of the Australian Tax Authority.