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Craig Wright Looking to Settle $10Bn Lawsuit Outside Court

Avatar Davit Babayan 1 month ago

Self-proclaimed bitcoin inventor Craig Wright has entered settlement talks with the estate of Dave Kleiman, a firm which sued him for $10 billion.

A September 17 filing in Florida district court shows that both Wright and Kleiman estate have asked the judge to grant them a 30-day deadline. The parties have signed a non-binding agreement that would assist them in finalizing the settlement outside the court, according to the joint motion. Excerpts:

“The parties have been engaged in extensive settlement negotiations and have reached a non-binding agreement in principle to settle this matter […] Reaching a final binding settlement agreement is in the best interests of both parties, and a 30-day extension of all case deadlines (including the trial setting) would enable both parties to devote their full efforts to that goal.”

Background

The joint-motion comes months after Ira Kleiman filed a lawsuit against Wright for defrauding his brother Dave Kleiman off 1.1 million Bitcoin. Ira alleged that Wright, who worked with Dave between 2008 and 2013 to mine bitcoin, illegally acquired Dave’s 50 percent share after his death.

On August 27, Judge Bruce E. Reinhart ordered Wright to hand over Dave’s share of bitcoin to his family estate. He also slammed the Australian computer programmer for falsifying identities, forging documents, and lying bluntly to cover the bitcoin stash he and Dave had mined together before December 31, 2013.

Wright, in his defense, stated that he has no access to the bitcoin he had mined before the said date. While claiming he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin, Wright said that he earlier feared that the use of bitcoin among online criminals would land him in legal troubles. That prompted him to get rid of his bitcoin holdings using a legal entity called the Tulip Trust.

According to Wright, both he and Dave acted as trustees to the Trust. He then encrypted the wallets and handed over one of the private keys to Dave. But after Dave’s death, he could not access the bitcoin funds.

Judge Reinhart rejected Wright’s testimony outright, saying:

“Dr. Wright’s story not only was not supported by other evidence in the record, it defies common sense and real-life experience,” the judge added. More generally, Reinhart found that Wright’s “non-compliance with the court’s orders is willful and in bad faith.”

Satoshi Nakamoto

According to one of the court documents, the Judge recognized that both Wright and Dave mined bitcoin in the early days of the cryptocurrency. Nevertheless, the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto remains a mystery, with evidence pointing that Wright blatantly backdated documents and forged signatures to wipe out Dave’s involvement in the bitcoin mining operations.

“It is unclear whether Craig, Dave, and/or both created Bitcoin,” read the document. “It is undeniable, however, that Craig and Dave were involved in Bitcoin from its inception and that they both accumulated a vast wealth of bitcoins from 2009 through 2013.”

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