Tech

Cecille de Jesus

Suspect in big-time Bitcoin mining rig heist wants to go home

Stefansson wrote to Icelandic newspaper Frettabladid and wants to be assured he can go home without being arrested again.

In a string of burglaries between December 2017 and January this year, a big loot of Bitcoin mining hardware were stolen from a data centre in Iceland. The grand theft involved a whopping 600 mining computers—worth over $2 million, as well as 600 graphic cards, 100 power supplies, 100 processors, and 100 motherboards, and was believed to have been pulled off in four separate hauls. The heist was one so bold that Iceland police commissioner Olafur Helgi Kjartansson called it “a grand theft on a scale unseen before.”

Last week, Sindri Thor Stefansson—alleged mastermind out of 11 suspects arrested in relation to “the big Bitcoin heist,” escaped prison through a window and reportedly fled to Sweden by plane using a fake name on his ticket (he did not need a passport since he was travelling within a passport-free zone. Reports say the Iceland prime minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir was in the same flight as Stefansson.

While his whereabouts are still unknown, Stefansson wrote to Icelandic newspaper Frettabladid, saying he was detained by the Iceland police for months without any evidence. According to his letter, his detention—while already illegal—was also set to expire on April 16. While the police tried to extend his detention for an additional ten days, that extension had not been approved at the time of his escape, meaning he was legally free to go when he escaped on April 17th.

He also wants to negotiate a deal with the Iceland police and to be assured that he can go home without being arrested.

Below is a rough translation from the report:

“There are two aspects to all matters, and this is especially true here. I know it was not right for me to escape land like I did, and I can not take it back, even if I wanted to. Why did I do this?

I would never try to flee prison if I was legally deprived of my freedom by judge decision, that’s a fact. On April 16th. Check. At 15:00 I went to the front of a judge where the prosecution carried out a further detention for 10 more days and the referee took the decision until April 17th. Check. 09.30, the following day. The judge did not provide temporary custody during a period of reflection. But on the same day, April 16, or one hour after the party, at 16:00, the custody was released and so I was free. I did not realize that until later that day when the prison staff at Sogni called me for a meeting. There I was informed that I was a free man whose expulsion had expired but under the threat that the police would arrest me if I left the prison without explanation. I was forced to sign a paper that I was free travel less than if I would stay in a prison room until the extension of detention was approved.

The Prison Affairs Agency is in possession of this document and is working to bring it to my lawyer.

I simply refuse to be in prison of my own will, especially when the police threatens to arrest me without explanation.

I’m not trying to say that it was my right decision to go, and I’m very excited because my family has had to suffer because of the massive harassment of the media and the public. I did not expect to get an international arrest warrant because I was free of travel and thought it would be impossible to be a stamped stroke trap. I would never have done this unless I considered myself to be free.

In addition, I have been in custody for two and a half months unsuccessfully, without evidence, but only because of police suspicion. That’s what I’m angry about. I have not been published a single testimony and I was threatened and threatened with longer isolation while isolation took place. I was often told that I could walk out if I would locate the so-called German I’m suspected of stolen. I was a dump in isolation, a punishment, because they did not find this mean. Without proof. I and my lawyer have already discussed and I want this to be appealed to the European Court of Human Rights.

In any case, I have to deal with this position in which I am. I have no interest in fearing and hiding and causing my family more dementia. I’m working on negotiating with the police in Iceland that I can get home without being arrested abroad. Also, this document must show the surface that shows and supports what I say that I have been free of travel. I can flee for as long as I want, I’ve been in contact with a group of people who give me a roof over my head, auto, hence forged ID if I want and money to live. It would be no matter if I would like it, but I would rather like to deal with this home in Iceland so I’ll be there soon.”

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