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Outer Temple successful in bitcoin fraud case in the Commercial Court

Andrew Spink QC, Helen Pugh and Chloë Bell have been successful in major bitcoin fraud case Ellis v Digit Europe Ltd.

In Ellis v Digit Europe Limited the claimant alleged he had been the victim of a multi-million pound, complex fraud perpetrated by a web of persons unknown and sham companies purporting to offer bitcoin investment and management services. In December and January the claimant obtained worldwide freezing orders against alleged recipients of bitcoin identified following a tracing exercise on the blockchain which led to deposit addresses on the Kraken exchange.

A fully contested return date due to be heard on Thursday 3 March by Mr Justice Jacobs raised wide ranging issues including a challenge to the now familiar view that the lex situs of cryptocurrency is where the claimant was at the time it was misappropriated, a challenge to the tracing exercise carried out on the blockchain, the application of Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd to persons named in crypto exchange KYC documentation and the extent to which a claimant was required to identify potential bona fide purchaser defences from an analysis of the blockchain at the time of the ex parte hearing.

A successful outcome

In a last minute change of position the claimant agreed to withdraw its application to continue the WFO against two of the defendants and to discontinue the claim against them. The claim continues against other defendants.

Helen Pugh represented the successful thirteenth defendant.

Andrew Spink QC and Chloë Bell represented the successful fourteenth defendant.

Find out more

Andrew Spink QC is a highly respected advocate with 35 years’ experience at the Bar, of which 17 years have been as a successful QC. Andrew has a broad-based business law practice and is a leading silk in the emerging area of cryptoassets.

Helen Pugh specialises in general commercial litigationcontentious insolvency and company law issues, and professional negligence.

Chloë Bell is one of a few barristers at the London bar pioneering litigation relating to cryptoassets. She obtained one of the first comprehensive set of injunctions in relation to cryptoassets in the English courts and is ranked in Chambers & Partners.

To find out more about any of the team, contact Sam Carter on +44 (0)203 989 6669 or Colin Bunyan on +44 (0)20 7427 4886 for a confidential discussion.

Commercial, News 9 Mar, 2022

Authors

Andrew Spink QC

Call: 1985 Silk: 2003

Helen Pugh

Call: 2008

Chloë Bell

Call: 2015

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