The cryptographer and Monero developer Riccardo Spagni was arrested in the United States at the request of the South African authorities. He is accused of fraud and stealing $100,000 from a former employer.
On July 20, US law enforcement agencies detained Riccardo Spagni in Nashville, Tennessee. He is accused of $100,000 fraud. The arrest was carried out at the request of the South African authorities, according to which Spagni, who worked for Cape Cookies, used fraudulent schemes and fake accounts to redirect corporate payments to his personal bank accounts between 2009 and 2011. South African officials issued an arrest warrant for Spagni in mid-April after he failed to appear for a court in Cape Town, South Africa, on fraud charges.
According to court documents, Spagni is being held without bail pending an extradition hearing in South Africa. A hearing date has not yet been set.
Riccardo’s wife Saskia Spagni posted a message to Twitter on his behalf. “Unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding with regards to the setting of court dates in an old matter, which I have continuously been trying to resolve since 2011, I have been held in contempt of court and currently awaiting extradition. I am hoping to resolve this misunderstanding within a short while. In the meantime my business affairs will continue under the leadership of my partners.”
Spagni is represented by lawyer Brian Klein, who previously defended former co-owner of Bitcoin gambling site Satoshi Dice and CEO of ShapeShift Eric Voorhees and co-founder of currently defunct BitInstant Charlie Shrem. Klein filed a motion to allow Spagni to be released on bail pending an extradition hearing.
The petition challenges the US government’s assertion that Spagni’s crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Instead, it is argued that under South African law, Spagni’s alleged crimes are punishable by up to 60 months’ imprisonment.
The hearing on Spagni’s request for bail will take place on August 5.
Riccardo Spagni is a former lead developer of the anonymous cryptocurrency Monero. He left this job in 2020.