In the state of Florida, there’s an ongoing lawsuit against Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto, for billions of dollars. Wright is being sued by the Kleiman family on behalf of the late Dave Kleiman for allegedly misappropriating billions worth of BTC through a partnership years ago. On March 29, the Kleiman vs. Wright discovery meeting transcript was published revealing more interesting details about this unique case.
The Billion Dollar Bitcoin Lawsuit Continues With a Discovery Meeting
According to Ira Kleiman, his brother David’s inheritance was allegedly manipulated during a multi-year partnership with Australian native Craig Wright. On Valentine’s Day last year, a case was filed against Wright in Florida which accused him of defrauding Kleiman out of an assumed 1.1 million BTC stash. The lawsuit has continued into 2019, after Wright’s legal counsel attempted to get the case dismissed only for Florida district Judge Beth Bloom to deny the defendant’s dismissal. This week, on March 29, the court’s discovery meeting transcript was released which explains that Wright and Kleiman’s partnership was very complicated. Wright is scheduled to be deposed under oath by Kleiman’s lawyers on Thursday, April 4.
The discovery meeting reveals some fascinating aspects in regard to one of the most compelling Bitcoin-related lawsuits to date. For instance, during the proceedings, the court asked Wright’s legal counsel whether he did or did not collaborate with Kleiman in the development of Bitcoin. Wright’s attorneys replied by saying: “It is Dr. Wright’s position, your Honor, that Dave Kleiman assisted in editing the protocol related to Bitcoin but did not create Bitcoin.” The judge then asked the defendant’s counsel if Wright and Kleiman jointly mined bitcoin and co-owned any cryptocurrencies. The lawyer detailed that Wright’s position is that he never mined bitcoin with Kleiman nor did any co-owned bitcoin exist. Additionally, Wright’s attorney asserted that Kleiman had no legal rights to intellectual property associated with Bitcoin or the Bitcoin protocol.
Parsing Through Thousands of Documents
The judge and the two disputing parties also discussed Wright’s issues with the Australian Tax Office (ATO), which explained that the ATO was and still might be investigating Wright and Kleiman’s collaboration. The lawyer representing the Kleiman estate stated that the plaintiffs were contacted by the ATO while conducting an investigation to find out whether there was information the Kleimans had for corroborating evidence on the matter. Further, the discovery transcript reveals that the late David Kleiman left a significant trail of documents behind which may pertain to the lawsuit. The two disputing parties are parsing through thousands of documents that belonged to David Kleiman, his brother Ira, and the business W&K Info Defense Research. This includes documents that stem from a number of electronic devices, computers, phones, hard drives, encrypted chats, and emails that belonged to Kleiman.
Kleiman’s Legal Counsel: ‘The Satoshi Nakamoto Story Is Relevant’
Toward the end of the discovery hearing, the parties also discussed the Satoshi Nakamoto moniker and how Wright claimed to be the creator of Bitcoin but failed to provide evidence. Kleiman’s lawyer explained how Andrew O’Hagan, the famous London Review of Books author who wrote an article called “The Satoshi Affair,” had hours of Wright discussing how he invented Bitcoin. The entire story between O’Hagan and Wright makes the plaintiffs believe that Wright came out saying he was Satoshi for “celebrity status” and to “sell his intellectual property that Satoshi Nakamoto created for billions of dollars.” The Kleimans think the Satoshi story is “relevant” to the proceedings and that the late David Kleiman was very much involved in a partnership with Wright involving Bitcoin.
“So the plaintiffs’ position is that admissions with regard to who owned the intellectual property created by Satoshi Nakamoto and the story of Satoshi Nakamoto are relevant to the case because it is plaintiffs’ theory that Satoshi Nakamoto is the name of a partnership between Craig Wright and Dave Kleiman,” explained the Kleiman estate’s lawyer.
In addition to the Wright deposition scheduled for April 4, Ira Kleiman will be deposed as well. After the depositions, the court will reconvene to discuss the matters and come back with any follow up. The judge also gave the plaintiff’s counsel permission to ask Wright about the communications with O’Hagan in order to proportionate the findings. The entire case between Wright and Kleiman goes beyond any scope of all the other high profile BTC cases so far because it involves the creation of Bitcoin itself. Moreover, the lawsuit started many years after Ira Kleiman became his brother’s beneficiary when Dave died from a rough battle with MRSA. The Kleiman vs. Wright case is thought provoking because whatever way it settles, some believe it will either provide answers or even more questions to the Satoshi Nakamoto mystery. So far, Wright has failed to convince the greater Bitcoin community that he is the creator of Bitcoin and has yet to provide any cryptographic evidence.
What do you think about the Kleiman vs. Wright legal battle? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Court Listener, and Pacer.
At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even look up the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.