The U.S. judge trying the lawsuit brought against Craig Wright by the estate of his late business partner David Kleiman on Thursday denied a request by Wright to have the hearing abandoned, and questioned the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto’s credibility.
Wright has continuously questioned the Southern District of Florida’s jurisdiction over the case, brought by David Kleiman’s brother Ira.
The case centres on Ira Kleiman’s allegation that Wright fraudulently gained control of 1.1 million bitcoin – currently worth around $11 billion – that were, at the time of David Kleiman’s death, jointly owned by the business partners.
On Thursday, April 15, Wright filed a motion that challenged the jurisdiction of the court over the case as W&K Info Defense Research – a now defunct firm named in the case – had a Vietnamese national, Uyen Nguyen, as a director who would fall outside of the court’s jurisdiction.
Judge Beth Bloom, however, refuted Wright's motion. She said that Federal courts have subject matter jurisdiction over civil actions where the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 and the suit is between citizens of different states.
“This is not the first time that the defendant has made certain representations regarding the membership of W&K,” the judge said after quoting a famous passage from Walter Scott’s 1808 poem Marmion:
Oh! What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.
Conflicting Ownership Statements
Judge Bloom then produced four conflicting statements by Wright issued at different times about the ownership of the company:
- On April 2, 2013, the Defendant signed a contract, representing that Dave Kleiman is 100% owner of W&K, which was filed before the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
- On or about July and August of 2013, the Defendant filed a sworn affidavit in the Supreme Court of New South Wales declaring that he and Dave Kleiman each owned 50% of W&K.
- On April 16, 2018, in a sworn affidavit the Defendant stated that he has ‘never been a member of W&K’.
- On June 28, 2019, during his deposition the Defendant testified under oath that he has ‘no idea’ who the owners of W&K were, and unequivocally stated that he was not an owner of W&K.
Aside from Nguyen, Wright also claimed that two additional parties were members of W&K – his ex-wife Lynn Wright and a liquidated firm Coin-Exch.
Judge Bloom said:
In weighing the evidence, the court simply does not find the Defendant's testimony to be credible.