HCR’s crypto asset recovery team, led by Steven Murray, obtained the first summary judgment in a crypto case from the High Court of England and Wales, securing the return of fraudulently obtained Bitcoin (BTC).
Our client had been defrauded out of 89BTC by sophisticated unidentified online fraudsters behind the now abandoned cryptocurrency trading platform ExTick Pro.
He invested, parting with £450,000 to acquire 89BTC. The “traders” from ExtickPro remotely accessed the client’s laptop and showed him which “trades” to invest in. From his perspective, the investments were doing incredibly well and accumulated a little over 89BTC – worth over £1.5 million.
However, when requests were made for withdrawals, the client was met with numerous excuses, invited to pay more in to unlock trades, and then silence. It was at that point HCR were contacted.
We convinced the court to place a freezing injunction on the digital wallet the funds had been moved to. Documents were served by alternative means – being filed at court and sent to email addresses previously used for ExtickPro and individuals known within Huobi, who operated the digital wallet.
When no response was received, an application was made for summary judgment and enforcement – the first in a crypto case. Using the argument that the digital wallet provider had become a constructive trustee of fraudulently acquired BTC it was possible to seek an order requiring the return of all the client’s 89BTC.
The order was served on the digital wallet provider and ‘air-dropped’ into the wallet by way of NFT, the third time worldwide this has been used as a method of service. Within a couple of weeks, the client received 100% of his BTC, which, together with costs, meant a recovery in the region of £1.85 million.
This development will be welcomed by investors in crypto – a path has now been cleared for future victims of crypto asset fraud to pursue ‘Persons Unknown’ and have a hope of recovery where they previously could not.