Riccardo ‘Fluffypony’ Spagni Hires Top Attorney to Battle Extradition to South Africa on Fraud Charges

Spagni has hired Brian Klein, a leading crypto trial attorney, to handle his case.

AccessTimeIconAug 3, 2021 at 6:47 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:34 p.m. UTC

Former Monero maintainer Riccardo Spagni, who was arrested in Nashville, Tenn., on July 20 at the request of South African authorities, is fighting extradition with the help of one of crypto’s top lawyers, Brian Klein.

Spagni, known online as “Fluffypony,” has been accused of stealing approximately $100,000 from his former employer, Cape Cookies, by creating fake invoices and routing payment to his personal bank accounts between 2009-2011. 

South African officials issued a warrant for Spagni’s arrest in mid-April after he failed to show up for a trial in Cape Town, South Africa for the fraud charges. 

According to court documents, Spagni is being held without bond pending his extradition hearing, the date for which has not yet been set. 

Klein, who has previously represented big-name crypto clients including Erik Voorhees and Charlie Shrem, has filed a motion to allow Spagni to be released from custody on bail until his extradition hearing. 

In his motion, Klein claims the U.S. government has “misstated both the facts and the applicable law in this matter” and calls the case against Spagni “fatally flawed” due to a lack of evidence and a prosecution that has “stopped, started and meandered for over a decade.”

The motion disputes the U.S. government's claim that Spagni's offense carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, instead claiming that under South African law Spagni's alleged offenses are only punishable by up to 60 months in prison.

According to independent extradition expert and attorney Jacques Semmelman, however, the distinction makes no difference for Spagni's extradition.

"As long as the conduct is punishable in both countries by a year or more in prison, it is an extraditable offense," Semmelman told CoinDesk.

The motion also argues that Spagni has health conditions, including asthma, that make him more susceptible to severe illness or death from the Delta variant of COVID-19, and that necessitate his release from custody until his extradition hearing.

A hearing on Spagni’s request to be released on bond will take place Thursday morning.

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Trending

1
CoinDesk - Unknown
NFT Platforms Should Be Caught by EU Money-Laundering Overhaul, Lawmakers Say

Unhosted wallets and decentralized finance were left largely unscathed by two landmark crypto laws agreed to last week, but left-wing lawmakers may seek another go as they discuss dirty-money rules.

CoinDesk - Unknown
2
CoinDesk - Unknown
Bitcoin se recupera y supera los $19K; Nomura advierte de una recesión en EE. UU. y Reino Unido

Nomura escribió acerca de una recesión en la eurozona, el Reino Unido y Asia Pacífico, lo que podría influir en los precios de las criptomonedas.

CoinDesk - Unknown
3
CoinDesk - Unknown
Argentinos se refugian en stablecoins durante el fin de semana tras dimisión del ministro de Economía

Los principales exchanges del país informaron que los usuarios compraron hasta tres veces más criptomonedas estables que durante un fin de semana normal, en medio una crisis económica en ciernes.

CoinDesk - Unknown
4
CoinDesk - Unknown
Polkadot Builder Parity Technologies Adds 3 Execs to Leadership Team

The new executives joining Parity are Eran Barak (COO), Peter Ruchatz (CMO) and Fahmi Syed (CFO)

CoinDesk - Unknown