Riccardo ‘Fluffypony’ Spagni Released by US Court, ‘Actively Working’ on Return to South Africa

The release frees Spagni, at least temporarily, while he attempts to “address this matter” and put it behind him “once and for all.”

Sep 22, 2021 at 4:55 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 22, 2021 at 1:31 p.m. UTC

Riccardo Spagni, also known by his internet handle “fluffypony,” has been released by a U.S. court and is “actively working” with his lawyers to return to his home country of South Africa.

CoinDesk confirmed Spagni was released. The release provides Spagni some freedom, at least temporarily, while he attempts to “address this matter” and put it behind him “once and for all.”

According to court documents filed Tuesday, the U.S. had not received the required documents from the South African government by this week’s deadline and, as such, Spagni has been allowed to take up residence in the Middle District of Tennessee. Spagni must also appear in court as required and must surrender as directed if ordered to be extradited to South Africa, the filing further states.

The former Monero maintainer was arrested in Nashville, Tenn. on July 20, at the request of South African authorities and charged for crimes unrelated to the crypto industry.

A regional court in Cape Town oversaw charges against Spagni that included fraud but did not hear his testimony as he failed to appear in court, despite previously pleading not guilty. It was alleged Spagni had stolen roughly $100,000 from his former employer, Cape Cookies.

Following his arrest in the U.S., Spagni hired Brian Klein, a leading crypto trial attorney, to fight his extradition to South Africa.

Spagni entered the crypto space in 2011 by mining bitcoin before stumbling upon Monero during its early inception and becoming its lead maintainer – a role responsible for executing the release procedures in Github repositories – before stepping down in 2019.

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Sebastian Sinclair is a CoinDesk news reporter based in Australia.