- Italian court declares Bitgrail exchange owner is personally liable
- The exchange owner did not put in placebasic security measures
- Cryptocurrency exchange users to be reimbursed
An Italian Bankruptcy Court has stated that Francesco Firano, owner of the BitGrail Exchange is personally liable for losing the exchange’s funds and that he should return assets to the cryptocurrency exchange’s users. BitGrail had declared it had lost over 17 million NANO coins amounting to $170 million under mysterious circumstances in February 2018.
The landmark ruling, reported on BitGrail victims’ official medium account that has been hailed as a “happy ending” to the year-old BitGrail saga, is the first major legal victory for cryptocurrency users and has also set a new important precedent on the subject of protecting cryptocurrency exchange users globally.
According to the report, the court judged that BitGrail and Firano be declared bankrupt and that the process of ensuring the exchange’s customers get their assets back should start. The ruling further added that the remaining funds and Mr. Firano’s personal could be seized, something the Italian authorities have already done.
Funds removed months before the reported hacking
The titanic legal battle begun immediately after the exchange hacking report and during which it has taken the Italian Bankruptcy Court and an officially appointed technical expert a whole year to find Mr. Firano, who called himself “The Bomber” on social media at fault for the loss.
The court’s decision was made public on Monday January 21, 2019 saying that according to its findings that the NANO tokens declared lost by Mr. Firano on February 9, 2018 had apparently been removed from the cryptocurrency exchange months earlier between July and December 2017.
The Italian court condemned the exchange owner for failing to take the necessary steps to account for the losses and that his actions of delaying to declare the mishap caused his clients to suffer a substantial financial loss. The documents shared by the victims advocacy group show that the cryptocurrency owner continuously slipshod security matters relating to BitGrail users’ cryptocurrency holdings and that in time he even had the audacity to transfer customer funds into wallets under his direct control.
Attempted Exit scamming
Details about Firano’s suspicious dealings came to the fore last February when he took to his Twitter account announcing his contemplation to pull and exit scam soon after reporting that 17 million NANO was missing. BitGrail went offline soon thereafter and Firano claimed to be torn between declaring bankruptcy and repaying 20 percent of the lost funds with a pledge to eventually repay the balance. With the Bitgrail ruling cryptocurrency exchanges will now want to be more careful on matters of cybersecurity even as BitGrail victims inch closer to being vindicated, with another suit filed earlier this month.
Although many users of Bitgrail will never see their money or tokens returned, the Nano community at least can sigh with relief that the justice system agrees with them; the Nano team were guiltless in the Bitgrail tragedy, and responsibility falls squarely on the criminal negligence of Firano.