U.S. District Judge, Alison J. Nathan, ordered New York-based Attorney, Aaron Etra to pay $5.2 million to Benthos Master Fund, a San Francisco-based crypto investment firm.
Etra must pay $5.2 million alongside ensuing interest for prematurely releasing $4.6 million from escrow, which was meant for purchasing Bitcoin under the Bitcoin Agreement, signed by Etra and Benthos.
Nathan ruled the case in favor of Benthos after Etra repeatedly failed to show for a court-appointed date in April for confirming and attending an arbitration session at the International Court of Arbitration, Hague, International Chamber of Commerce.
The Etra-Benthos Bitcoin dispute dates back to 2018 when the crypto investment firm sought Etra via Valkyrie Group to handle Benthos’ Bitcoin purchases as an escrow agent. Benthos had initially planned to purchase roughly 10000 BTC coins accounting for $5 million back then. However, the dispute resulted when Etra transferred $4.6 million from Escrow in August last year, without the firm’s approval, following which, no crypto assets were sent to Benthos.
Concerning the dispute, a court asked Etra to produce all the documents and information concerning the missing funds. Etra did produce the remaining $400000 alongside records of his communications with the concerned Bitcoin sellers.
While the present value of 10000 BTC coins is estimated at $108 million, one can say that Etra was spared from paying $108 million if at all, the sale had taken place back in 2018. Nevertheless, Etra was ordered to pay $5.2 million with the ensuing interest, for failing to appear for the arbitration despite several reminders.