Former Monero Developer Released By South African Court

According to a ruling of a regional court in South Africa, Riccardo Spagni, the former lead maintainer for Monero, should be released from custody. Agents of local law enforcement arrested him just a few days ago. Before his release, Spagni, who is also known as Fluffpony, had told the court that he was not a flight risk because he had voluntarily returned to South Africa.

Spagni’s release

A report disclosed that a regional court magistrate in South Africa recently ordered the release of a former lead developer for Monero, Riccardo Spagni, from custody. A warning has to be issued to the developer who has been accused of fraud.

The decision of the magistrate to release Spagni came only a couple of days after his arrest at the OR Tambo International Airport on his arrival. Previously, law enforcement agents in the United States had arrested Spagni on July 21st last year in Nashville, Tennessee. The South African government had instigated his arrest.

Since then, Spagni had been held in custody in the United States and was awaiting his extradition to South Africa. According to reports, the Monero developer had initially been resistant to completing the extradition process. However, Alistair E. Newbern, a US magistrate judge, granted the motion for Spagni’s extradition on June 30th.

This paved the way for him to be transferred to South Africa and the process had been completed on July 11th when he arrived in the country.

Grounds for bail denial

Before the magistrate’s ruling on July 15th about Spagni’s release, the prosecution team had presented its arguments against letting the former Monero developer go from custody before the trial. Steven Pritchard, an investigating officer signed an affidavit, which said that Spagni should not be granted bail because had not appeared for any previous court hearings. He had claimed to be afraid of contracting the coronavirus.

In his affidavit, Pritchard argued that an internet search revealed that between June 4th and 5th last year, Spagni had been in Miami for attending a crowded bitcoin convention that included celebrities, such as Paris Hilton. The investigating officer said that Spagni had not been wearing a mask at the event.

Spagni counters

To respond to the arguments put forward by the prosecution, Spagni also submitted an affidavit in which he said that his non-appearance at the hearings was not his fault. According to the former Monero developer, he may have resisted extradition to South Africa initially, but had returned to the country voluntarily where his release on warning had not been canceled.

As a matter of fact, the developer also offered a number of other reasons to the court as to why he should be released on a warning. He is expected to make another court appearance on July 19th. This is not the first case involving fraud in the crypto industry, as such incidents are on the rise recently. Court proceedings will shed further light on the fraud allegations made against the Monero developer.