Monero Lead Developer Arrest Without Bail and Extradition Due to A ‘Misunderstanding’ About Court Dates
The warrant has been regarding Riccardo Spagni defrauding Cape Cookies for about $100k from 2011, but he failed to appear for his trial. The US court has ordered to detain him without bond “because he poses a flight risk and is a potential danger to the community.”
Privacy-focused Monero (XMR) lead developer Riccardo Spagni says his arrest is unrelated to cryptocurrency but rather a case of misunderstanding of court dates.
“Unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding with regards to the setting of court dates in an old matter, which I have continuously been trying to resolve since 2011, I have been held in contempt of court and currently awaiting extradition,” said Spagni in a statement as conveyed by blockchain expert Saskia Spagni.
“I am hoping to resolve this misunderstanding within a short while. In the meantime my business affairs will continue under the leadership of my partners.”
In the court order dated July 20, 2021, the South African government has requested the extradition of the “fugitive” Spagni.
“The Government of South Africa seeks Spagni’s provisional arrest with a view toward his extradition to stand trial for fraud,” reads the court order.
The warrant was issued on the fact that Spagni defrauded Cape Cookies for 1,453,561 South African Rand, or roughly $99,185. The offense carries a potential penalty of up to twenty years imprisonment, it says.
Spagni was employed by Cape Cookies from Oct. 2009 to June 2011 as its IT Manager, and the employment was terminated by mutual agreement. As per the court order, Spagni used false information, inflated prices for the goods and services to fabricate invoices.
He was then charged in the Western Cape Regional Court, Cape Town, for fraud and other charges. But he pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the trial against him commenced during which evidence was presented against him, but Spagni failed to appear in court.
After the investigation into his whereabouts revealed that he had fled South Africa, the trial court issued a warrant for his arrest on April 19, 2021.
Now, the United States District Court for the middle district of Tennessee has ordered to detain Spagni without bond “because he poses a flight risk and is a potential danger (pecuniary or economic harm) to the community.”
The court order also mentioned that Spagni was the lead maintainer of Monero, described as a cryptocurrency project that aims to obfuscate the linkability of transactions and is also believed to have significant cryptocurrency assets worth about $800k combined with a watch that would enable him to flee.
The open-source, privacy-oriented cryptocurrency was launched in 2014, and as of writing, XMR has been trading at $230.11.