Former Monero Maintainer Arrested on Pre-Crypto Fraud Charges
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Former Monero Maintainer Arrested on Pre-Crypto Fraud Charges

2 years ago

The U.S. arrested Riccardo Spagni at the request of South Africa, which is seeking his extradition.

Former Monero Maintainer Arrested on Pre-Crypto Fraud Charges


Riccardo Spagni, the former maintainer of the Monero privacy coin, was arrested in Nashville Tenn., on a South African warrant seeking his extradition on fraud charges.

The arrest occurred on July 20, during a fueling stop by a private jet taking Spagni to Mexico, according to a court filing in which prosecutors asked that he be held without bail pending an extradition hearing. 

South African authorities allege Spagni stole about $100,000 from Cape Cookies by falsifying invoices from a client, Ensync. He allegedly submitted false invoices that were actually paid to a bank account he controlled, according to U.S. prosecutors. 

“As an employee of Cape Cookies, SPAGNI intercepted invoices from another company, Ensync, relating to information technology goods and services it had supplied Cape Cookies,” according to the filing. “SPAGNI knowingly used false information to fabricate similar invoices purporting to be from Ensync, relying on details including this company's Value Added Tax (VAT) number and bank account information… Cape Cookies paid each invoice by means of electronic transfer of funds into the bank account details reflected on the false invoice submitted by SPAGNI.”

He also submitted false invoices from three fictitious suppliers, according to the filing.

In a twitter thread posted by his wife on Aug. 2, Spagni called the arrest the result of a “misunderstanding with regards to the setting of court dates in an old matter, which I have continuously been trying to resolve since 2011.”

Old Charges

In a response to the filing, Spagni’s attorneys said that the arrest stemmed from a “fatally flawed” case that “South Africa has investigated, charged, dismissed, re-investigated, and re-charged,” over the course of a decade.

Spagni’s attorneys added that he had already appeared in several hearings for the case, and only missed a hearing that was more of a “status conference” than an actual trial date. 

In addition, Spagni’s attorney’s said that Spagni’s fear of South Africa’s COVID-19 outbreak had led him to request video appearances, and that he thought his attorneys could attend the April 19, 2021 trial date he missed.

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