Craig Wright's Wife Wins UK Lawsuit Over Bitcoin Trading Account Closure

The exchange operator failed to convince the court that Craig Wright had in fact been trading through his wife's account.

Dec 22, 2020 at 11:32 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:46 a.m. UTC

Ramona Ang, the wife of controversial cryptocurrency industry figure Craig Wright, has won a lawsuit in the U.K. High Court over losses she incurred when the UFX exchange platform closed her account without returning her funds.

In a November ruling, Justice Christopher Butcher granted Ang's claim to equitable compensation, saying the Cyprus-based defendant Reliantco – operator of UFX – had failed to justify its counterclaim and "acted in breach of trust and of its fiduciary duties of loyalty in dealing with the positions opened on Ms. Ang's account."

Reliantco failed in making its case that, while Ang had opened the account in January 2017, "it was Dr. Wright who had thereafter operated the account 'as a means of overcoming the effects of the Defendant's termination of Dr. Wright's own account with it.'" It also claimed her funds had been obtained by fraud, via Wright's involvement with the account.

Wright – who claims to be the inventor of Bitcoin – had had his account (which had been opened at the same time) closed after the firm found he had been accused of fraud, per the document. The exchange returned $10,000 he had deposited, however.

Reliantco had failed in early 2019 to have the case moved to Cyprus and claimed that Ang hadn't read the website's terms and conditions. This was dismissed by Judge Andrew Baker at the time.

Ang had claimed for $708,857, comprising of an initial investment placed in bitcoin futures of over US$400,000, as well as around $300,000 in gains on her open positions. She further claimed $600,000 in damages for gains she would have realized if the funds hadn't been withheld.

Additionally, Ang claimed a loss of $1,334,163 that would have come from a plan to open a bitcoin account at the Kraken exchange and earn 3,530 bitcoin cash arising from the cryptocurrency's fork from the bitcoin blockchain. All in, the claims came to $2,643,020.

Judge Butcher said that, while he found some of Ang's representations over Wright's access to her account "inaccurate" and "untruthful," "I have found that she opened it and was its principal user."

Wright is also fighting a court case in the U.S. over billions in bitcoin that he claims to have mined in the early days of the cryptocurrency with former business partner, the late David Kleiman. 

Edit (12:10 UTC, Dec. 22 2020): Corrected date of the judge's ruling.

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