The US law enforcement agency has asked victims who lost cash when founder Gerald Cotten suddenly died to come forward. Cybercrime expert Yaya Fanusie, an adjunct fellow at FDD’s Center on Economic and Financial Power at the US Foundation for Defense of Democracies Center (FDD), says the FBI will be investigating “potential criminality” among senior staff in the case that stunned the world of cryptocurrency. Mr Cotten, the founder of Canada’s former largest crypto exchange, is believed to have been the only person with access to the encrypted keys needed to access to the £153million in investor assets held by the exchange. The 30-year-old died as a result of complications arising from Crohn’s disease in India in December.
When the exchange went under, around 115,000 customers lost bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies and cash.
The company is going through bankruptcy proceedings in Canada.
Mr Fanusie, an ex-CIA officer, told Coin Rivet for Express.co.uk: “They are investigating potential criminality among QuadrigaCX staff, advisors, anyone with influence in the company, as well as associates.
“A crime could have occurred.
“The FBI investigates financial crime and US persons who are victims of it. It seems there is a potential case – there are a lot of questions.”
Mr Fanusie says better regulation of crypto exchanges is vital.
He added: “It’s clear there were some bad practices.
“At the very least there was poor management and poor security procedures.”
An FBI statement said: “The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section are conducting an ongoing investigation.”
The statement continued: “If you have questions or concerns about your QuadrigaCX account, or if you believe you are a victim, please complete the below questionnaire.
“Based on the responses provided, you may be contacted by the FBI and asked to provide additional information.”
Shortly after Mr Cotten’s death his widow Jennifer Robertson was hounded by claims on social media that her husband had faked his own death in an elaborate hoax.
An employee and close associate of Jennifer Robertson exclusively told Coin Rivet: “It’s simply not true – this has been a tragedy for anyone who knew Gerry and anyone involved in QuadrigaCX.”
“To lose your husband, to then face the turmoil and fallout effect of that on the business you grew together while you are grieving for that loss is an enormous burden for anyone’s heart to take.”