What did Ira Kleiman really know about his brother Dave Kleiman? On Day 4 of the Kleiman v Wright trial, defense counsel Andres Rivero picked up where he left off from the previous day and continued to cross examine Ira Kleiman.
Ira Kleiman is the personal representative of the estate of Dave Kleiman as well as the individual who brought this lawsuit against Dr. Craig Wright. Ira Kleiman claims that Dr. Wright and Dave Kleiman formed a partnership that mined 1.1 million BTC together, that Dr. Wright stole Dave Kleiman’s half of that 1.1 million BTC—worth roughly $69 billion—shortly after Dave passed away, and that therefore, the Kleiman estate should be entitled to half of that 1.1 million cache…But did Dave Kleiman even have any bitcoin?
“Knowing my brother, if there was more than $1,000 in the account [Bitcoin wallet] he would have sold it,” Kleiman said.
Thursday’s cross-examination showed that Ira Kleiman did not really know his brother Dave that well and that he had little to no knowledge of the matters going on in Dave’s life until after he passed away.
“He [Ira] had limited contact and personal knowledge of David’s financial affairs throughout Dave’s life,” wrote Ira Kleiman’s lawyer Joseph Karp in a letter to the Director of Treasury.
Even outside of his financial matters, Ira did not have a good grasp on what had significance to his brother; Ira knew his brother Dave was a specialist when it came to computers and knew that his brother had published papers, yet one of the first things Ira did when he took possession of the Dave Kleiman estate was throw out the many papers he found lying around Dave’s house, give away Dave’s cellphone and some of his computer items, and he even reformatted a few of Dave’s hard drives.
Ira was not even aware that Dave owned Bitcoin until Dr. Wright contacted him after Dave’s death letting Ira know that he—Dr. Wright, a good friend of Dave Kleiman—had the impression that Dave could be the owner of a significant amount of Bitcoin. But other than Dr. Wright mentioning this suspicion to Ira regarding Dave’s potential personal Bitcoin ownership, there is no evidence or proof that would have given Ira the notion that Dave was the owner of a Bitcoin wallet.
“I very well could have already made some mistakes months ago by throwing away a bunch of Dave’s papers and formatting drives that I couldn’t access,” Ira Kleiman wrote in response to Dr. Wright.
Deeply in debt
So why is Ira on the hunt for these alleged Bitcoin wallets that he believes Dave owned at one point in time due to a past conversation he had with Dr. Wright? It could be because Ira Kleiman was burdened with a significant amount of debt when he became the personal representative of the estate of Dave Kleiman.
An email written by Ira Kleiman was produced as evidence in court today, which read, “I still get calls each day from Dave’s debt collectors…we got a summons from his bank a couple of weeks ago, it says he took out loans against his home and owes $560,000.”
Ira Kleiman did not begin to aggressively hunt for Dave’s Bitcoin until he became the personal representative of the estate and therefore became responsible for his brother’s debt.
It’s also worth noting that Ira Kleiman would be heavily rewarded financially if it turns out that his late-brother Dave Kleiman was the owner of a large number of accessible Bitcoin.
But were they business partners?
We must remember that the question at the core of this court case is: “Did Dave Kleiman and Dr. Craig S. Wright have a partnership that mined 1.1 million Bitcoin together?”
Beyond one email sent from Dr. Wright to Kleiman requesting help editing a paper about what he said would be a revolutionary idea that he was referring to as ‘bit cash, ‘bit coin,’ Dave Kleiman and Dr. Wright never talked about Bitcoin via email.
No evidence has been produced that would make an individual believe that Dr. Wright and Dave Kleiman had a partnership when it came to Bitcoin mining. However, the two did have a partnership over other work-related matters.
Dave Kleiman and Dr. Wright launched W&K Defense LLC as a legally recognized business in the state of Florida. The official state documents of formation were introduced as evidence in the court and so were tax returns from W&K Defense LLC. There are email correspondences between Dave and Dr. Wright regarding W&K defense LLC business matters, a clear division of labor between the two partners (Dr. Wright and Dave Kleiman) at that company (W&K Defense LLC). They filed their taxes yearly with the IRS (although the record reflects that they did not pay their taxes in the first two years of operation).
That being said, both Dave Kleiman and Dr. Wright clearly know how to establish legitimate business entities and partnerships; and you would think that they would establish these entities any time they were partnering over business matters.
What was most memorable about day 4 of the trial was that Dave and Dr. Wright never talked about Bitcoin via email correspondence other than in one instance where Craig asked Dave to help him edit a paper about ‘bit cash, bit coin.’
Dave Kleiman and Dr. Wright created legitimate non-Bitcoin business partnerships in the past and had very clear and detailed correspondence about the business matters taking place within that registered entity (W&K Defense LLC)—but they did not have any sort of documentation or agreement like this for any Bitcoin-related matters.
What also stuck out was how little Ira Kleiman knew about his brother, his financial situation, and what Dave found significant in his life. Dave had a lot of debt that Ira did not learn of until he took control of Dave Kleiman’s estate and Ira also had no idea that Dave could have even been the owner of a bitcoin wallet until one of Dave’s good friends—Dr. Wright—reached out to Ira Kleiman. Ira only began to aggressively hunt for these Bitcoin wallets after he was burdened with the debt, and a big Bitcoin payday would easily alleviate the debt.
Day 5 is most likely the final day of Andres Rivero’s cross-examination of Ira Kleiman. CoinGeek will feature Kurt Wuckert Jr. in daily recap coverage which will be livestreamed on a daily basis at 6:30 p.m. EST on our YouTube Channel.
Watch our Day 4 Special Report from the Kleiman v Wright trial here:
Check out all of the CoinGeek special reports on the Kleiman v Wright YouTube playlist.
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