The estate of early Bitcoin adopter Dave Kleinman has sued self-declared Bitcoin creator Craig Wright for more than $10 billion for allegedly stealing more than 1 million BTC from the forensic computer investigator following his death in 2013.
The complaint, which was dated Feb. 14 and filed by Boies Schiller Flexner LLP on behalf of Kleinman’s brother Ira, alleges that Kleinman and Wright were both involved with Bitcoin development from the project’s inception.
The document avoided stating outright that either or both of them were Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, as Wright has claimed in the past.
However, the complaint claimed that the two men mined more than 1.1 million BTC through W&K Info Defense Research LLC, a company formed by Kleinman and either owned wholly by him or held in partnership with Wright.
Kleinman provided his family with few details about his involvement in Bitcoin, and — upon his death in April 2013 following a long battle with MRSA — Wright allegedly forged and backdated a series of contracts that transferred Kleinman’s cryptocurrency assets to Wright or his associated companies.
Wright later told Ira Kleinman that his brother had signed away these property rights for shares — allegedly worth “millions” — in one of Wright’s companies, but this company went bankrupt soon after, leaving Kleinman’s estate with nothing, even as Wright continued to live a lavish lifestyle bankrolled by his supposedly ill-gotten BTC.
Based on these and other claims, the plaintiff asked the court to force Wright to return the stolen funds — which amount to between 550,055.5 and 1,100,111 BTC depending on the ownership structure of W&K — to Kleinman’s estate.
At the time of filing, these funds were worth more than $10.2 billion, while the value of the two largest Bitcoin-derived forks — Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin Gold (BTG) — adds another $1.5 billion.
Boies Schiller Flexner LLP did not immediately respond to an inquiry regarding the document’s authenticity, but documents filed with the court indicate that the firm has levied a case against Wright and that he has already been issued a summons, to which he must respond within 21 days of receipt.
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