Quadriga: Lawyers for users of bankrupt crypto firm seek exhumation of founder
Lawyers representing users of bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX are asking Canadian authorities to exhume the body of its founder.
They say they want an exhumation given “questionable circumstances” surrounding his death.
Gerald Cotten died suddenly last year in India from complications related to Crohn’s disease.
Following his death, the exchange was unable to locate or secure significant cryptocurrency reserves.
When he died, the 30-year-old founder was the only person who had passwords to digital wallets containing C$180 million ($137m; £105m) in cryptocurrencies.
His untimely death forced the closure of QuadrigaCX, which had some 115,000 users at the time.
Online rumours have circulated since, speculating that Cotten faked his own death and sought to abscond with the funds, though no evidence of such a scheme has been revealed in the year since he died.
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On Friday, the legal team representing users of the platform in the bankruptcy proceedings sent a letter to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police seeking an exhumation and post-mortem autopsy be performed on Cotten’s body “to confirm both its identity and the cause of death”.
They say information revealed during the proceedings “further highlight the need for certainty around the question of whether Mr Cotten is in fact deceased”.
Earlier this year, a report by auditor Ernst & Young found significant problems in how the exchange was managed, including finding that Cotten created certain accounts on the Quadriga platform under aliases that may have been used to trade on the exchange.
It was also found that substantial funds were transferred to Cotten personally and to other related parties.
The auditor managed to retrieve approximately C$33m in missing funds.
It confirmed in August it was aware of “at least four independent active law enforcement or regulatory reviews in progress” related to the platform’s demise, which includes the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In a statement sent through her lawyer on Friday, Cotten’s widow said she “is heartbroken to learn of this request”.
Jennifer Robertson said her late husband’s death “should not be in doubt”, adding it is unclear how its confirmation “would assist the asset recovery process further”.