Lawyers appointed to represent users harmed by the failure of the cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX have asked the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to exhume the body of the exchange’s founder, Gerald Cotten.
“The purpose of this letter is to request, on behalf of the Affected Users, that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the “RCMP”), conduct an exhumation and post-mortem autopsy on the body of Gerald Cotten to confirm both its identity and the cause of death given the questionable circumstances surrounding Mr. Cotten’s death and the significant losses of Affected Users.”
Quadriga CX was a popular cryptocurrency trading platform that opened in Vancouver in 2013 and failed in January 2019 following the death of Cotten.
Cotten’s widow, Jennifer Robertson, says Quadriga her husband died from complications of Crohn’s disease while the couple was on honeymoon in India in December 2018.
Cotten’s death was not disclosed to customers for a month and the exchange continued to accept deposits for nine weeks. At the same time, many Quadriga customers were unable to withdraw funds.
After Quadriga was abruptly shut down at the end of January 2019 and Robertson filed for investor protection, remaining Quadriga staff claimed Cotten had died without giving anyone else password access to $250 million CAD in user cryptocurrencies he was supposedly keeping in hardware storage devices.
At least 76 000 Quadriga customers are believed to have lost money.
As investor protection and bankruptcy proceedings wound their way through court earlier this year, investigations conducted by court appointed monitors found that Cotton conducted wash trades on Quadriga in an attempt to make the exchange look busy.
Investigators also found that, in the months prior to his death, Cotten conducted tens of thousands of cryptocurrency trades on other exchanges using Quadriga customer funds.
Reporter Nathaniel Rich at Vanity Fair reported in November that while Cotten was still a teenager, he began pervading scammy multi-level marketing schemes, sometimes in partnership with Michael Patryn (formerly Omar Dhanani), an early partner at Quadriga CX and possible co-founder.
Patryn was officially ousted from Quadriga’s ranks after Redditor’s discovered his criminal history. There is now speculation that Patryn may have helped Cotten fake his death.
Freelancer Amy Castor traces the roots of the Cotten-Patryn relationship in her article here.
Court-appointed monitors noted in their Fifth Report of the Monitor that, during Quadriga’s final year of operations, the Vancouver-based exchange was being run almost exclusively by Cotten from his laptop in Nova Scotia. Internal controls were largely absent.
Lawyers for Quadriga users have asked that the exhumation process, “be completed by Spring of 2020, given decomposition concerns.”
QUADRIGA LAWYERS REQUEST EXHUME