SA crypto developer Riccardo ‘Fluffypony’ Spagni has been denied bail by a US court ahead of an extradition hearing.
Spagni was taken into custody by US Marshals in late July at the request of SA authorities, who want him extradited back home to face fraud charges.
He is accused of defrauding Cape Cookies of around R1.4 million between 2009 and 2011 by submitting false invoices. Spagni, well-known in tech circles as the former lead maintainer for privacy-focused cryptocurrency Monero, has pleaded not guilty.
His team of high-profile US lawyers have called the case against him “fatally flawed”.
In a ruling on Wednesday, a US judge ordered that Spagni be remanded in custody until his extradition hearing takes place.
The judge ruled that he had not proven that he was not a flight risk, given that he had travelled to the US when he was expected to appear in court in Cape Town. At the time, he had seemingly not informed his own SA lawyer of the decision.
“Had Spagni notified the South African court of his situation […] or had Spagni taken any steps to acknowledge that he was required to appear on the charges against him and needed to remedy his anticipated absence—the court might reach a different conclusion.
“He did not, and so the court finds that Spagni has not established by clear and convincing evidence that he poses no risk of flight and would appear at future court proceedings.”
* This article has been updated to reflect that Cape Cookies is not a small tech company.
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