Quebec Court Orders PlexCorps CEO to Transfer Millions in Bitcoin in the Courtroom
In the ongoing case against the PlexCoin ICO and its parent company PlexCorps, CEO Dominic Lacroix was ordered Friday to transfer $3.7 million CAD in Bitcoin immediately in the middle of the courtroom.
The unusual demand by a Quebec court demonstrated the new challenge of dealing with and protecting digital assets seized during investigations.
Dealing with a fraudulent Canadian PlexCoin ICO
Dominic Lacroix and his wife and business partner Sabrina Paradis-Royer are under investigation by Canadian and U.S authorities over their PlexCoin ICO which allegedly took the equivalent of around $19 million dollars CAD from Canadian and U.S investors in 2017.
PlexCorps was instructed by Canadian regulators in October 2017 not to continue the PlexCoin ICO. In December 2017 the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) deemed the PlexCoin ICO illegal. Subsequently the ICO founder’s assets were frozen.
In ongoing action by the Financial Markets Authority (AMF) and the U.S SEC, Lacroix appeared in court Thursday, July 5th, 2018. According to reports by Radio Canada, Quebec Court Judge Raymond W. Pronovost ordered Lacroix to give control of his Bitcoins to the court administrator. Lacroix was ordered to reappear the next day to confirm the transfer had been made.
The challenge of seizing digital assets
When he appeared the next day, Lacroix told the courts he hadn’t made the transfer as the task was complicated, partly by the seizure of his computers by the courts.
The freezing or seizure of traditional assets like property, vehicles, and bank accounts, is something both familiar to courts and easier for them to manage.
Digital assets are proving more of a challenge due to their perceived more volatile nature. Indeed with no centralized, regulated, point of control, like a bank controlled account of fiat money, cryptocurrency wallets are more difficult for the courts to seize.
In response to the administrator’s concerns and Lacroix’s failure to comply, the confiscated computer equipment was brought into the courtroom. Lacroix was ordered to make the transfer of 420 Bitcoins worth around $3.7 million dollars CAD immediately in front of the judiciary.
Judge Pronovost warned the PlexCorps CEO if he did not make the transfer he would be found in contempt of court and jailed.
Lacroix finally made the transfer, in what must be a first for Canadian courts in dealing with a digital currency case.
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