U.S. Markets open in 6 hrs 13 mins

US Federal judge threatens to hold Craig Wright in criminal contempt in ongoing court case

Isabel Woodford

Craig Wright, who claims he is Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, was dealt a blow by a Florida court yesterday after they granted a motion to compel him to prove his bitcoin holdings by Monday. He has also been summoned to the federal court by the end of the month, where he will need to speak under oath. 

The motion is part of a lawsuit filed against Wright by the estate of Dave Kleiman, a deceased entrepreneur, over claims Wright misappropriated billions of dollars of bitcoin (1.1 million BTC) through a complicated multi-year partnership with Kleiman earlier this decade.

To assess the claim, the Courts requested last month that Wright, an Australian computer scientist, produce records of his private bitcoin addresses as of December 2013.

The new motion to compel means that if Wright fails to comply now, he will be held in contempt of court, which could be a criminal act and punishable by a fine or jail time. It also means the Court has dismissed Wright's explanation that he cannot obtain the bitcoin address information because it is controlled by a blind trust.

Stephen Palley, a lawyer following the case, wrote on Twitter:

"Wright is close to getting sanctioned and losing [the case]. Court doesn't think much of his arguments."

If Wright fails to comply and loses the case, it could also affect his ongoing legal proceedings in the UK.

The full document can be read here: