It’s been about a year since users of Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX were informed that the company’s CEO unexpectedly died, taking the password that accessed most the money from their accounts with him to the grave. And now, those clients want to know what’s inside that grave.
The majority of QuadrigaCX’s holdings were kept offline in “cold storage,” with a password known only by 30-year-old CEO Gerald Cotten. On January 14, the company posted a Facebook note announcing Cotten had died about month earlier “due to complications with Crohn’s disease” while on a trip to India “where he was opening an orphanage to provide a home and safe refuge for children in need.”
The news meant that 76,000 people lost cryptocurrency and cash that amounted to about $163 million USD, collectively, according to Bloomberg. The story became more suspicious in June when a bankruptcy monitor revealed that Cotten funneled most of the money into fraudulent accounts and spent much of it on his wife and himself. Growing skepticism around the mysterious death has driven lawyers representing Quadriga CX users to request that Cotten’s grave be exhumed.
On Friday, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court-appointed lawyers sent a letter asking Canadian police to conduct an autopsy on the body in Cotten’s grave “to confirm both its identity and the cause of death” citing the “questionable circumstances surrounding Mr. Cotten’s death” and “the need for certainty around the question of whether Mr. Cotten is in fact deceased.”
Richard Niedermayer, a lawyer representing Cotten’s wife Jennifer Robertson told the New York Times in an email that Robertson was “heartbroken to learn” about the exhumation request, adding that Cotten’s death “should not be in doubt.”
The QuadrigaCX users’ counsel is asking that the exhumation and autopsy happen by the Spring of 2020 due to “decomposition concerns.”