“Bitcoin’s “inventor” failed on Wednesday to block evidence used by 10 developers to support their allegation he is fraudulently suing them for£4.5 billion ($5.4 billion) of the cryptocurrency he claims he is trying to retrieve after being hacked.
High Court Judge James Mellor refused an attempt by Craig Wright, who says he is the pseudonymous cryptocurrency creator Satoshi Nakamoto, to block parts of a witness statement that refers to legal and quasi-legal findings, rejecting the computer scientist’s argument that it was an “unsubtle attempt to vex” him.
Tulip had asked Judge Mellor to throw out passages from a written statement to the court by Enyo Law LLP partner Tim Elliss that referred to alleged judicial findings from courts in Australia, the United States, Norway, and the U.K., along with an Australian Tax Office investigation. The witness statement was made to support a bid for a preliminary trial to determine whether Tulip Trading owns the relevant bitcoin and whether the claim was made fraudulently — which would mean it could be dismissed as an abuse of process.
“The fact that so many different judges in different jurisdictions have formed such a consistent view of Dr. Wright’s dishonesty and propensity for forgery and fabrication is damning and plainly relevant,” Elliss said in the statement, according to the judgment.
Judge Mellor ruled that the passages should be kept in the statement because it would not breacha rule established in the 1943 case Hollington v. Hewthorn that factual findings by earliertribunals cannot be used in later civil proceedings as they are considered to be opinion evidence. Judge Mellor said he was swayed by arguments from Sebastian Isaac KC of
One Essex Court ,counsel for the developers, who had said the judgments could be admitted as evidence that thereis a “genuine issue” for the court to consider.
“For most of the hearing I confess I was inclined to accede to [Tulip Trading’s] application and strike out the [passages], not only on the ground of inadmissibility but also irrelevance,” Judge Mellor said. “However, having reflected…the stronger [Isaac’s] case on ownership and fraud is, the greater the reason to order a preliminary issue.”