A South African district court recently ruled to release former Monero lead maintainer Ricardo Spagni from custody. The ruling was reportedly handed down only a few days after his arrest by local law enforcement; prior to his release, Spagni, aka Fluffypony, informed the court that he had voluntarily returned to South Africa and that he was not a flight risk.
U.S. Judge Grants Spagni’s Extradition Motion
A South African regional court judge recently ruled to release former Monero developer Ricardo Spagni, accused of fraud, from custody with a warning. The judge’s decision to release Spani came just days after he was arrested and taken into custody when he landed at OR Tambo International Airport.
As Bitcoin.com News previously reported, Spagni was arrested by U.S. law enforcement in Nashville, Tennessee, on July 21, 2021. This arrest was at the instigation of the South African government. Since then, Spagni has been in U.S. custody pending the finalization of extradition proceedings.
Initially, Spagni reportedly resisted extradition attempts to South Africa. However, on June 30, hismotion for extradition waseventually granted by U.S. Magistrate Alistair E. Newburn. The way was then opened for his transfer from the U.S. to South Africa, where he reportedly arrived on July 11.
Spany’s description of Covid-19
Meanwhile, Soweto Live reportsthat prior to the July 15 sentencing, prosecutors had opposed releasing the former Monero developer from detention pending trial. An affidavit signed by an investigator named Steven Pritchard explains why Spani, who had previously failed to attend court hearings for fear of contracting Covid-19, might not be a proper candidate for bail.
“I then searched the internet and discovered that [Spani] attended a crowded bitcoin convention in Miami with celebrities (including Paris Hilton) between June 4 and June 5, 2021. This appeared in photographs and [he] was not wearing a mask,” Pritchard reportedly stated in his affidavit.
In response to the prosecution’s claims, Spanyi claimed in his own affidavit that he was not at fault for his alleged failure to attend the scheduled court hearing. The former Monero developer confirmed that he initially resisted extradition and that he chose to return to South Africa “voluntarily” under circumstances where “my release by warning was not revoked and the state had to revoke it.
Spagni also told the court why he had to be released with a warning; Soweto Live reports that Spagni is due back in court on July 19.
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