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Wright ‘abusing privilege' to block 11,000 documents in Bitcoin lawsuit

By Lawrence Gash

Lawyers for brother of Wright's former business partner make accusations against self-proclaimed founder of the cryptocurrency

Wright

The self-proclaimed inventor of Bitcoin, Craig Wright, has “abused" client-attorney privilege by hiding documents, according to lawyers.

The long running legal battle between Wright and the estate of his deceased former business partner David Kleiman has continued with lawyers representing Kleiman’s brother making the accusation.

The case centres around access to the so-called Tulip Trust, a Seychelles-based trust supposedly containing around $10bn of Bitcoin.

Ira Kleiman’s lawyers allege that Wright unlawfully seized part of his brother’s estate and of hiding relevant documents through 18 defunct companies.

Wright has long-claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s mysterious founder. Although few deny the Australian’s involvement in the early crypto scene, many dispute this claim.

Documents recently filed at the Southern District Court of Florida state: "Craig [Wright] has improperly withheld documents as privileged. Almost all of the companies the 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.”

Wright claimed in January that a third party, a “bonded courier”, would provide him with access to the Tulip Trust’s encrypted files. A judge gave Wright until February 3 to inform the court of the courier’s identity and if he had successfully granted Wright access.

Wright has argued that the bonded courtier is also one his attorneys and that any communication is private under attorney-client privilege.

Kleiman’s lawyers argue that this “continues to demonstrate a pattern of Craig’s abuse of privilege claims” and vow to “challenge this shortly”.

In a previous hearing between Kleiman and Wright a judge found that the Australian had perjured himself, admitted false evidence, and argued in bad faith. As a result Wright was forced to hand over half of his intellectual property to Ira Kleiman as well as half of his Bitcoin holdings mined before 2014.

Wright has repeatedly criticised what the world’s best-known cryptocurrency has become. Instead he has promoted a series of alt-coins, which he argues properly adhere to the standards established in Bitcoin’s 2008 white paper.

Its value is strongly influenced by the ongoing Kleiman-Wright trial. In mid-afternoon trading it stood at $285.88.

One such coin, Bitcoin SV (BSV), a split from Bitcoin Cash (BCH), has skyrocketed in recent weeks to become the fifth largest crypto in the world with a market capitalisation of more than $5bn.

In an interview this week Wright outlined his plan to go to war against the Bitcoin and Lightning networks by eventually holding 6,000 patents over blockchain technology.

He also claims to be studying for a doctorate in law to help ongoing and future battles.

FURTHER READING: BSV surge ends as Craig Wright’s claims contested

FURTHER READING: The coming cryptopocalypse or the future for fiat?

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