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A US judge has ruled that Craig Wright, who claims he is the founder of Bitcoin, has shown evidence of contemptuous conduct in court proceedings related to a $143m dispute over bitcoin (BTC) ownership.

Wright, who purports to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious founder of Bitcoin, is still engaged in a legal battle over the BTC ownership.

A $143m bitcoin ownership dispute

Craig Wright, the controversial computer scientist who has long claimed to be the elusive founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, has once again found himself in hot water over a multi-million dollar cryptocurrency dispute.

In a ruling published on May 5, US Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart accused Wright of showing “prima facie evidence” of contemptuous conduct in legal proceedings related to a $143m BTC ownership dispute.

The case centers around a legal battle between Wright and Ira Kleiman, who claims to have rights to BTC reportedly mined by his late brother, David Kleiman.

In 2022, a judge ruled in favor of Kleiman and his linked company W&K. However, Wright failed to provide the personal information needed to enforce the payment.

As a result, W&K has asked the court to conduct contempt of court proceedings against Wright and impose fines of $250,000 per day.

Wright is involved in multiple legal battles over his claims of being the pseudonymous author of the Bitcoin white paper. Still, he needs to provide convincing evidence to support his assertion.

Factually false ruling

“In response to that request, Reinhart said, “On the present record, there is prima facie evidence of contemptuous conduct,” and added that Wright had “refused to provide basic information about his spouse and her assets’ on the form.”

Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart declared Craig Wright’s claim that the form should be kept confidential to avoid revealing sensitive personal data was “factually false,” adding that the designation was improper from the beginning. 

The unsealed form shows Wright’s alias as “Satoshi Nakamoto”. It also indicates that his assets have been assigned or transferred to others.

Craig Wright and his attorneys have until May 18 to respond. The next hearing on July 6 in Palm Beach, Florida, will examine the facts related to the alleged non-compliance.

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