Pineapple Hack Case Could be Scrapped After COPA Ruling

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  • An element of Craig Wright’s defeat to COPA could have huge ramifications in the pineapple hack case
  • A fraudulent email over key accounting records during the COPA trial could invalidate them for the Tulip Trading case
  • This could see Wright see two birds killed with one stone and leave him facing millions in legal bills

The dust refuses to settle following Craig Wright’s defeat to the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA) last week, with attention turning to the knock-on effects, particularly concerning his other cases. Some of Wright’s cases are in immediate jeopardy following his request to wrap them up into the ‘identity issue’ at the heart of the COPA vs. Wright trial, but the Tulip Trading Limited vs. Bitcoin Association For BSV & Ors shouldn’t have been one of them. However, Wright’s actions in the COPA trial may have the unintended effect of killing that trial too, adding another layer of intrigue to an already absorbing period.

MYOB Data Crucial

The Tulip Trading Limited vs. Bitcoin Association For BSV & Ors is also referred to as the pineapple hack case because of the manner in which Wright claims over a billion dollars worth of cryptocurrency was stolen from him in 2020. Wright took legal action against a collection of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and eCash developers on the basis that they owed him a fiduciary duty over the lost coins, with Wright seeking their return in recompense for his loss (we cover the ‘theft’ itself here).

Two Bitcoin addresses lie at the center of this case, with Wright claiming that their private keys were stolen in the hack, but his proof of ownership of these addresses has stretched no further than a purchase order that he himself acknowledges is riddled with problems and accounting data purportedly from 2009-11 showing two of his companies holding the addresses in question.

The Ontier Email

The accounting data supporting this narrative was forwarded to COPA when it was realized that it could have an impact on Wright’s Satoshi claim, where COPA alleged that Wright added the crucial data himself on March 6, 2020, and backdated it to 2009-11. Wright denied this, claiming that his former law firm, Ontier, had the logins in late 2019 from which they extracted the data. Ontier disputed this, saying it only received logins on 9 March, 2020, with Wright claiming on the stand during the COPA trial that Ontier had lied about this.

On 26 February, following the conclusion of Wright’s testimony, his counsel revealed that Wright’s wife, Ramona Watts, had, on 18 February, sent Wright’s current law firm, Shoosmiths, an email that purported to prove that Wright had indeed sent Ontier the logins in 2019. When Shoosmiths checked with Ontier, however, Ontier found that the email in their systems presented differently from the one sent to Shoosmiths and that the metadata in the email showed that it had indeed been sent on 18 February rather than December 2019, which suggested it was a backdated forgery.

Wright tried to explain this away by claiming that someone else had sent the forged version within half an hour of him sending the genuine one, a simply preposterous argument that no one in the courtroom believed.

Master of His Own Downfall

This failed attempt at exoneration, which many believe was orchestrated by Wright through his wife rather than her taking the initiative herself, could be considerable. The judge in the COPA vs. Wright case, Justice Mellor, is likely to rule that the MYOB accounting data purporting to show the 2009-11 coins in the ownership of Wright’s companies is fraudulent, as is the Tulip Trust to which they purportedly belong.

This is bad for Wright on two fronts: not only could it lead to a perjury charge in the COPA case, it also pulls out from under him the only remaining evidence of his ownership of the coins in the pineapple hack case. To add salt to the wounds, the judge in that case is none other than Justice Mellor, who isn’t likely to ignore his own ruling.

It seems, therefore, that in trying to salvage the COPA vs. Wright case through a forged email, Wright could have just landed himself in prison as well as pressing the self-destruct button on the Tulip Trading case. If this isn’t enough, expulsion from the latter will cost him over £2 million in opponents’ costs as well as millions of pounds in COPA’s fees, with Justice Mellor potentially seeing the MYOB data in the Tulip Trading case as more evidence of fraud on the court.

All in all, Wright’s last roll of the dice doesn’t appear to have landed on red or black but instead hit a gas main in the casino which has ruptured and blown the whole thing apart.