Italian court authorities seize bitcoins from BitGrail wallets

June 18, 2018
Chris Wheal

Users of Italian cryptocurrency exchange BitGrail were told on the exchange’s website this weekend that coins stored in the company’s wallets were to be seized by court order prior to a suspected bankruptcy filing.

BitGrail exchange is closed pending bankruptcy

The Tribunal of Florence issued the court order on Friday, 15 June for the seizure of bitcoins in BitGrail’s storage wallets – the amount seized was not specified.

The court order was displayed on the BitGrail website at 1500 UTC on 15 June. It said: “On June 5, 2018 pursuant to the Tribunal of Florence orders, the Bitcoins contained in the company’s wallets were seized and brought under control of the judicial authorities pending further Court decisions in the prebankruptcy proceeding.”

Exchange closure

BitGrail users were told on 2 May that the exchange would not be re-opening following a suspension request made by the BonelliErede law office on behalf of a client.

The exchange issued this statement on 2 May: “We were notified of a deed by the court of Florence requesting the immediate closure of BitGrail and this situation will persist until a decision is made by the courts, about the precautionary suspension request made by Bonelli.

“Even though we don’t agree with this decision, we are obliged to respect the law and to suspend any BitGrail business immediately.”

Cyber attack

Back in February, the exchange shuttered its business following a cyber attack in which it lost 17 million nano (XRB) tokens that – at the time – were worth $187m.

The Nano Foundation said in April that it was to support a legal fund to provide victims of the attack with access to legal representation following BitGrail’s insolvency.

Furthermore, Nano declared the fault BitGrails: “To date, all reliable evidence we have reviewed continues to point to a bug in BitGrail’s exchange software as the reason for the loss of funds.”

Indeed, this weekend’s seizure of BitGrail’s bitcoins follows a petition in April by Bonelli on behalf of the victims of the hack, who claimed the exchange was now bankrupt.

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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