The strange story of the crypto CEO who died with the sole access $139 million just got stranger, as investigators gained access to his laptop, only to find that the money was already gone.
Back in February pulses were raised when the founder of a crypto company died, taking with him the only password that would grant access to $US137 million held in offline in ‘cold storage’.
However, the mystery is now decidedly more mysterious, as a court-appointed auditor was able to crack Cotten’s laptop, revealing that the vault was empty. According to their report, the accounts had been withdrawn in April 2018, eight months before his death.
“In April 2018, the remaining bitcoin in the Identified Bitcoin Cold Wallets was transferred out bringing the balances down to nil,” the report said. The investigators found other issues, too. The company, QuadrigaCX, apparently kept “limited books and records” and never reported its financials. The investigators also discovered fourteen user accounts, all apparently tied to the perished founder. Those accounts (according to the report) were “created outside the normal process” and may have been used to trade on their exchange.
The founder of QuadrigaCX (and the dead man in question) is Gerald Cotten, a man who accrued $190 million in debt before his death in India in December last year. Of course, the looming debt and his purported death in a faraway place enabled a series of conspiracy theories. The above could certainly attest to that, but according to crypto publication Chepicap (and many others), we should put our theories to rest, as Cotten is very much dead. A spokesperson representing the Fortis Escorts Hospital in Jaipur stated that “the patient died here in Fortis and was brought in an extremely critical condition.”
New Indian Express echoes that statement, explaining that “…Cotten was brought to the hospital on December 8. Cotten had a history of Crohn’s disease and was on monoclonal antibody therapy. Cotten was diagnosed with a case of septic shock, perforation peritonitis, and intestinal obstruction. Cotten’s condition soon went south, with the press release stating “…at 2:45 pm, Cotten suffered a cardiac arrest but was revived by CPR. he also suffered two subsequent episodes of ventricular tachycardia (fast heart rhythm) for which cardioversion was conducted,” the report indicates that Cotten suffered a second cardiac arrest, but could not be saved.
I mean, sure. But where’s the money? I’m not accusing the fine medical professionals of Jaipur of anything, nor am I suggesting that Cotten paid off an entire hospital before buying an island in Seychelles, but $137 million suspiciously moved around is a particularly spicy meatball. With a rival crypto company now offering a $100,000 reward for anyone who finds the missing money, surely there’s only one man for the job.