Controversial Italian Exchange BitGrail Ordered to Halt Trading
Troubled Italian cryptocurrency exchange platform BitGrail has been hit with a court order forcing it to cease trading. The order came just over three hours after it had begun trading again for the first time since February.
Per media outlet Assodigitale, BitGrail reopened for business, trading all currencies except Nano at 10am on May 2, but a court in Florence ordered the exchange to cease trading immediately until a hearing makes a ruling in the bankruptcy case on May 16. The ruling forced BitGrail to suspend trading again at 1:20pm on the same day.
BitGrail posted, in a notice on its website, “Even though we don’t agree with this decision, we are obliged to respect the law and to suspend [all] BitGrail business immediately.”
BitGrail claims it was the victim of a large-scale hack in February this year, losing some USD 170 million in Nano cryptocurrency due to what its outspoken CEO Francesco “The Bomber” Firano called “fraudulent transactions.”
Nano developers have poured suspicion on Firano’s claims, with many alleging BitGrail’s hacking allegations are false. Nano has also backed creditors who have been looking to force BitGrail to declare bankruptcy and pursue legal action against the exchange.
Firano has previously claimed that the nature of the alleged hack means that he will not be able to refund victims fully. He has also accused those bringing charges against him of “blackmail and extortion.”