Unexplained wealth order filed against crypto scam co-founder

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B.C.’s director of civil forfeiture has filed an unexplained wealth order in an attempt to seize a quarter-million dollars in cash, 45 gold bars, luxury watches and jewelry that were contained in a safety deposit box belonging to the co-founder of a notorious B.C.-based cryptocurrency exchange scam.

Documents filed in B.C. Supreme Court say the items are the proceeds of crimes committed by Michael Patryn, who along with Gerald Cotten founded Quadriga Coin Exchange.

Cotten’s mysterious death in India in 2018 hastened the discovery of an estimated $215 million in missing investor funds from Quadriga. In 2019, the company was put into court-ordered bankruptcy.

An investigation by the Ontario Securities Commission later determined Quadriga was a fraud and Ponzi scheme.

Patryn, who also goes by Michael Dhanani, Omar Dhanani and Omar Patryn, was last known to be in Thailand, according to the claim. 

B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said this is the third unexplained wealth order filed in B.C. since changes were made to the Civil Forfeiture Act last year to allow their use.

Unexplained wealth orders require people to explain how they acquired their wealth and property if there is suspicion of criminal activity.

“Through this action, we are demonstrating again that criminals will have to prove that their assets are the proceeds of lawful activity and not financial crime,” Farnworth said in a statement.

According to the claim, the RCMP executed a search warrant on Patryn’s safety deposit box at a downtown Vancouver bank in June 2021, seizing:

  • $250,200 in Canadian currency “separated into five bundles which were bound with elastic bands, each containing approximately $50,000.”
  • Three one-kilogram gold bars, 12 one-ounce gold bars, 10 small gold bars from Australia and 20 gold bars of unlisted size from the Canadian Mint.
  • Two Rolex DateJusts, one with diamonds; a Chanel J12 Black Diamond and a Baume & Mercier Men’s Clasima Executive.
  • Three rings, two cufflinks, one pendant, one necklace.

According to the claim, birth certificates, name change certificates, credit cards and cheques in Patryn’s various names were also in the safety deposit box, along with a Ruger 1911 .45 calibre pistol and ammunition.

Civil forfeiture has existed in B.C. since 2006, allowing the province to confiscate people’s property without any criminal charges attached.

It’s estimated Quadriga duped over 76,000 clients. Ernst & Young, Quadriga’s bankruptcy trustee, was only able to recover $46 million of the $215 million owed to investors. 

This article was originally sourced from www.CBCNews.ca