A judge ruled that the person who pretends he developed Bitcoin introduced false reports and lied in a legal dispute with the estate of his ex-partner, adding that Craig Wright has to surrender over $4 billion of the cryptocurrency.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart in West Palm Beach, Florida, ruled that Dave Kleiman kept half of all BTCs that Craig mined during 2013 and half of all intellectual property he produced. That would proffer a title to more than 410,000 Bitcoins to Kleiman’s estate. One Bitcoin worths approximately $10000 today.
Reinhart declared the decision in sanctioning Wright for failing to comply with requests to turn over documents in the Kleiman estate’s lawsuit in which it claimed Wright illegally appropriated the assets and for lying.
The final test may be whether Wright can transfer the Bitcoins to Kleiman’s estate. In his testimony, Wright said he doesn’t know where all the BTCs are, and may not even be able to access them. Any sale or transfer of the immense stake of coins could dramatically affect the price of Bitcoin. The case was supposed to shed light on whether Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator of Bitcoin.
Reinhart stated, “I'm not required to choose, and I do not decide, whether Dr Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto. I also am not expected to decide, and I do not decide, the amount of Bitcoin if any, that Dr Wright controls today”.
The judge didn’t end the case, ruling that Wright can still fight the lawsuit, arguing the statute of limitations had expired or that there was an unreasonable delay in seeking a remedy. Ed Pownall, a spokesman for Wright, said that since it’s acknowledged now that Wright has the coins, that proves he’s Satoshi.
The judge told that he didn’t believe Wright when he claimed he doesn’t know where all the Bitcoins are, calling his testimony “perjurous”.
“Dr Wright’s demeanour did not impress me as someone who was telling the truth,” Reinhart said. “There is a strong and unrebutted circumstantial inference that Dr Wright willfully created fraudulent documents”.
The case: Kleiman v. Wright, 18-cv-80176, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida.