Monero’s former maintainer arrested in U.S. for allegations unrelated to cryptocurrency

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Riccardo Spagni, the previous maintainer of the Monero cryptocurrency, was arrested final month in Nashville, Tennessee on fraud expenses tied to alleged offenses in South Africa between 2009 and 2011. 

Spagni was on board a personal jet scheduled to fly to Los Cabos, Mexico when he was apprehended in Nashville throughout a scheduled refueling cease, in accordance to court docket paperwork. His journey initially started simply outdoors of New York Metropolis. He’s at the moment within the custody of the U.S. Legal professional Common, in keeping with court docket paperwork.

The arrest was made on the request of the South African authorities, which is in search of Spagni’s extradition on fraud expenses. The fees, that are unrelated to Spagni’s function at Monero, are tied to his earlier employment as data know-how supervisor at an organization referred to as Cape Cookies. Relating to Spagni’s alleged misdeeds, the court docket paperwork learn:

“As an worker of Cape Cookies, SPAGNI intercepted invoices from one other firm, Ensync, regarding data know-how items and providers it had provided Cape Cookies. SPAGNI knowingly used false data to manufacture related invoices purporting to be from Ensync, counting on particulars together with this firm’s Worth Added Tax (VAT) quantity and financial institution account data. SPAGNI then inflated the costs for the products and/or providers.”

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The Authorities of South Africa alleges that the invoices didn’t comprise the true checking account of Ensync, however reasonably a checking account opened and managed fully by Spagni.

Within the court docket submitting, Performing United States Legal professional Mary Jane Stewart requested that the court docket deny any bail requests by Spagni “pending decision of this extradition continuing.” The doc describes Spagni as a flight threat with a robust motivation to flee to keep away from dealing with expenses. He’s believed to have “vital crypto-assets” in addition to a watch valued at $800,000.

Spagni now faces a listening to on August fifth to find out whether or not he’s held pending trial. If convicted in South Africa, Spagni might withstand 20 years in jail.

Spagni has been concerned within the cryptocurrency market since at the least 2011 and is lively on Twitter beneath the deal with @FluffyPony. He has not tweeted for the reason that arrest on July 20, 2021. In December 2019, he stepped down as lead maintainer of Monero.