In a memorandum filed Sunday at the Southern District Court of Florida (see below), the legal team representing Ira Kleiman – who is suing for $10 billion in bitcoin – has challenged Wright’s “illusory” assertion that more than 11,000 company documents are inadmissible in court because they come under attorney-client privilege.
Lawyers representing the brother of Craig Wright’s deceased business partner have accused the Australian entrepreneur of “abusing” client-attorney privilege to withhold documents and “obfuscate” trial proceedings.
“Craig Wright has improperly withheld documents as privileged,” stated Kleiman’s counsel in the case that claims Wright unlawfully seized part of the late Dave Kleiman’s estate. They argue Wright has used the fact that documents come from 18 companies, most of them defunct, to “hide” the documents from the court.
“Almost all of the companies Defendant is using as a tool to assert ‘privileges,’ no longer exist … any privilege these companies may have once had, does not survive their dissolution,” claims Kleiman’s legal team. As many of these pertain to the companies themselves, rather than to Wright personally, “they are unequivocally not privileged,” the filing states.
For the three companies that still exist, “Craig’s privilege claim fails because he is not in the control group for these companies and therefore lacks standing to claim it,” reads the filing. Attorneys claim Wright has “purposefully orchestrated” not being on leadership teams at the firms so as to be able to claim privilege “when it suits him.”
The filing calls for the court to order Wright to present all documents from dissolved companies and third parties withheld under claimed privilege, as well as to clarify the privilege claims for other documents on the log.
Wright – who claims to be bitcoin’s inventor Satoshi Nakamoto – has also said, according to the document, that the “bonded courier” – a third party he claimed had the private keys to the 1.1 million bitcoin in the Tulip Trust at the heart of the case – is also an attorney whose communications are privileged. The plaintiffs said they would “challenge this shortly,” further alleging this action “continues to demonstrate a pattern of Craig’s abuse of privilege claims.”
In August, a judge found Wright had argued in bad faith, perjured himself and admitted false evidence during the motion. The court then ordered Wright to hand over half of his alleged bitcoin holdings, as well as pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees and any other related expenses.
Although Wright had initially agreed to a settlement that would see him hand over half the bitcoin held in the Tulip Trust, the court proceeding recommenced when he pulled out of the non-binding agreement in November.
ConsenSys Strategy Chief Steps Down to Launch Venture Fund
ConsenSys chief strategy officer Sam Cassatt is stepping down to launch a new venture fund, Aligned Capital, with the backing of ConsenSys founder Joe Lubin. ConsenSys said Cassatt will stay on with the ethereum venture studio in an advisory capacity.
Speaking Friday at San Francisco’s TransTech Conference, Cassatt said his fund is seeking to raise $50 million for its first round. Aligned will focus on emerging technologies including artificial intelligence, healthcare, cryptocurrency and blockchain, according to a statement from Cassatt.
In a blog post published Friday, Cassatt said the fund is “designed to anticipate civilization-scale, evolutionary changes in human behavior.”
Also backing Aligned is DARMA Capital managing partner Andrew Keys, another former ConsenSys executive. The amount of Lubin and Keys’ capital participation was not disclosed.
Although wholly separate from ConsenSys, Cassatt is looking to apply similar principles employed by his former firm, Cassatt said in a phone interview. While Aligned is still in its infancy, Cassatt said it’s looking to tackle societal issues such as safe artificial intelligence and mental health in the digital age.
“Not only are we looking for that societal change, but we are noticing that institutions … are no longer serving their purpose”, Cassatt said. “I think we are at a crisis point.”
Joining as an advisor to Aligned Capital is Nichol Bradford, the executive behind the Transformative Tech Lab organizing the Friday event in San Francisco. Nicholas Paul Brysiewicz, the director of development at the Long Now Foundation, is also listed as an advisor. The Long Now Foundation is best known as the entity building the 10,000 Year Clock inside a mountain in western Texas. Angel investor Seth Goldstein will be a venture partner, Cassatt said.
As to the new fund’s long-term vision, Cassatt offered this:
“You can come up with a lot of things as to why something would make some money. We are looking at where there are these momentous stepwise changes.”