Business 29 January 2019Dennis Wafula
Courts order BitGrail owner to return investors funds
In another twist of the BitGrail scandal, Francesco Firano, the founder and owner of BitGrail, was commissioned by the courts to return as many assets as possible to his customers. Median scanned the court decision and released it on January 28 through the BitGrail Victims Group (BGVG).
According to the scanned documents, the Italian courts decided that Mr. Firano and his cryptocurrency exchange should be declared bankrupt. The court also authorized for a seizure of as many of Mr. Firano’s personal properties as possible.
In making its conclusion, the court stated:
“It was the BitGrail exchange that [because of a software flaw] requested to the node multiple times to allow the funds to leave the wallet and not the Nano-network that allowed the multiple withdrawals. Furthermore, the exchange also reportedly stored all of its Nano cryptocurrency holdings in a “hot wallet,” which compromised its security.”
In their filings, the prosecutors told the courts that in July 2017, the exchange lost 2.5 million Nano through an attack on its system. Reportedly, Firano was aware of the incident and announced that the involved accounts be blacklisted on Twitter. Three months later, BitGrail lost another 7.5 million Nano.
In December 2017, Firano converted BitGrail central wallet into a cold wallet. In addition, Firano deposited 230 BTC in his account on a cryptocurrency exchange between February 2 and 5 in 2018. Days after depositing the crypto, Firano announced the loss of the stolen assets.
Reportedly, authorities have already seized over $1 million worth of Firano’s personal properties including his car. Authorities have also confiscated millions in cryptocurrency assets from BitGrail’s exchange accounts. These funds have been moved to accounts managed by trustees appointed by the courts.
The millions produced by BitGrail and collected from Firano’s personal properties are still not enough to cover the stolen cryptocurrencies. The taken amounts totaled up to 17 million Nano which is about $187 million.
This decision by the court brings some closure to the BitGrail and NANO development teams, who have been in a back and forth dispute on who should be responsible for the hack.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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