Crypto Users Celebrate Victory as BitGrail CEO Is Order to Repay $170 Million of ‘Lost’ Crypto
BitGrail has been the subject of a lot of discussion for their shady dealings within the cryptocurrency industry. Their dishonest actions were reported by TheNextWeb as early as January, when there was speculation that founder Francesco Firano was planning an exit scam. At the time, he reported that 17 million NANO had mysteriously gone missing.
The whole situation was unsavory for even the most blissfully unaware investors. When the NANO went missing, BitGrail was completely offline, and it was later announced that the missing funds would not be returned but be a necessary component in the new “BitGrail Shares,” a new token. In order to even get these shares as a form of reimbursement, the victims of the original theft had to sign a waiver, which would mean that Firano gets out of the entire situation and is not held liable. Clearly, that did not sit well with the investors, or they would not have created a victims’ group
They chose to ultimately take Firano to court, where he is now being ordered to repay the $170 million worth of cryptocurrency that originally went missing. In order to do so, documents show that Firano will have to return as much as possible, which hopefully sets the tone for the Italian economy for how the country will deal with these types of situations.
The court noted that Firano will have to be declared bankrupt and will have to forfeit his personal assets in the process, of which the authorities have already seized about $1 million in value. Crypto assets have also been seized, amounting to millions of dollars, and have been moved to the accounts of court-appointed trustees for management. The victims will see their allocations distributed through the court.
This decision was publicly documented on January 21st this year, though they found that the funds were removed from the exchange up to seven months earlier than what was announced by Firano in February. The Italian court was condemning of Firano for putting the public through an excessive amount of suffering, as a result of waiting to publicize what had happened. The cause, the court determined, was a lack of safeguards that would protect NANO from being improperly withdrawn.
An expert in the court stated,
“Therefore, it was the BitGrail exchange that actually requested to the node multiple times to allow the funds to leave the wallet (funds that, in fact, had already left the account after the first request) and not the Nano network that allowed the multiple withdrawals. The shortfall reported by Firano in February was caused by a transfer request generated by BitGrail multiple times upon receiving a single request from the user. These requests were sent to the Nano node as separate requests. Had they been idempotent, the Nano node would have disregarded them and prevented any problem.”
TheNextWeb pointed out one factor that was rather interesting in this case – that “in the days before revealing that $170 million worth of users’ cryptocurrency had been ‘lost,’ Firano deposited 230 Bitcoins ($1.8M) onto another cryptocurrency exchange in a bid to exchange it for Euros.” Ultimately, the investigators on this case found that Firano had also tried to use a Bitcoin ATM to withdraw money.