Italian authorities have held Bitgrail’s founder responsible for fraudulent activities related to the platform’s $ 150 million hack in 2018.
Francesco Firano, the sole director of the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange Bitgrail, has been accused of taking money from customers before reporting the theft of crypto from the exchange.
According to a December 21 Announcement by the Postal and Communications Police – a cybercrime unit of the State Police of Italy, Firano kept the platform intact for months, despite having identified a major security breach involving nano-cryptocurrency:
“By keeping the platform open, despite the fact that we have identified illegal withdrawals of nanocoins and did not notify the Nano team […] FF continued to attract new users, rising from 70,000 to around 217,000 within a few months, benefiting from the notoriety that it was the first and only Italian exchange to enter [Nano]. “
Firano subsequently denied the police allegations, claiming that the authorities had provided false information about the case. “The postal police went into hiding instead of correcting the articles, Firano argued on Twitter. The executive also noted that he had not been arrested by the police.
The announcement seems to indicate that Firano 230 Bitcoin (BTC), worth $ 1.7 million or about $ 1.9 million at the time, just three days before the larger theft of Nano was reported in previous months. The BTC was traced to a Malta company called The Rock Trading, allegedly owned by Firano. Although authorities noted that there were attempts to exchange the money, most of the money remained in the company’s accounts. Authorities have stated that the actual hackers who stole the Nano are not being identified. In a preliminary injunction, Firano was barred from holding managerial positions or conducting business activities, but his freedom of movement is not further restricted.
The latest news follows years of controversy surrounding Bitgrail’s hack – one of the biggest hacking incidents in Italy. In February 2018 Firano officially announced that 17 million Nano, formerly known as Raiblocks, were stolen in a hack. Nano developers then released an official comment showing that Firano requested that the altcoin’s ledger be changed the next day after reporting the hack.
In January 2018, the Italian bankruptcy court convicted Firano to return as much of the assets as possible to its customers after local authorities seized more than $ 1 million in Firano’s personal assets.