Cryptocurrency exchange Bitgrail’s CEO Francesco Firano, aka The Bomber, has been ordered to pay back thousands of investors he claims hackers bilked out of $170 million worth of cryptocurrency.
An Italian court previously seized the controversial company’s remaining assets, which are managed by a special administrator, and ruled that BitGrail must remain closed while its bankruptcy proceedings progress.
BitGrail is an Italian cryptocurrency exchange which is best known for being hacked of $170 million in Nano (formerly Raiblocks). While there were red flags for weeks leading up to the hack, Nano and Firano blamed each other for the theft and disagreed about how to deal with the aftermath.
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The Nano development team strongly denied that their software is affected by any vulnerabilities to which Firano referred. Moreover, they claimed that BitGrail was holding XRB in a different kind of wallet to other coins, which left it vulnerable. In turn, Firano claimed that the Nano network itself was flawed, and if their team was to undergo a hard fork the money could be recovered. Nano disagreed and said that it would finance the legal expenses of the victims.
A remarkable precedent
The story developed when Nano became the first crypto firm to face legal action by investors seeking to force a hard fork to recover their money.
Making matters worse, Firano suggested a repayment scheme to be funded by a re-opened BitGrail. He did not admit that his exchange was at fault despite evidence surfacing that it was his mismanagement that caused and exacerbated the security vulnerabilities of the site.
Following this, a group of victims filed a petition requesting that BitGrail declare bankruptcy. At the beginning of March 2018, Firano attempted to reopen the exchange, but within three hours it had been shut down again by the court which approved the precautionary suspension request of the law firm representing the 3,000 clients.