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Monero Founder Refutes Allegations of Helping Interpol Trace Funds

3 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • Monero founder Riccardo Spagni has rebuked claims that he has been an Interpol informant.
  • Crypto Influencer James Edwards claimed in a Twitter thread that Spagni outed himself as an informant for Interpol.
  • 'Fluffypony' was fleeing fraud charges in South Africa before getting captured in the United States in 2021.
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Monero founder Riccardo Spagni has quashed claims that he has been an informant who helped Interpol and other federal agencies trace funds.

Crypto Influencer James Edwards claimed in a thread that Spagni outed himself as an informant for Interpol after U.S. Marshals detained him pending extradition.

Spagni Alleged to Be Interpol Mole

In a tweet on March 20, James Edwards shared reports from 2021. Based on the reports, he inferred Monero founder Riccardo Spagni could be an Interpol informant.

He said, “Evidence strongly suggests he helped them track Monero.”

Riccardo “Fluffypony” Spagni was captured in the United States in August 2021. The well-known cryptocurrency personality was detained after being accused of crimes that first surfaced in 2009. He was reportedly fleeing fraud charges in South Africa.

Former employer Cape Cookies accused Spagni of fraud by forging invoices. According to court records, Fluffypony allegedly stole $100,000 between October 2009 and June 2011.

Edwards based some of his arguments on this case. Spagni’s attorney postponed the trial and mentioned COVID-19 risks in response to South Africa’s extradition request. Prior to the March 2021 hearing, Edwards alleged that Spagni and his wife fled South Africa. In addition, he claimed that their dread of the virus only prevented them from traveling to South Africa and not to Bermuda. Edwards noted that their journey included an unnatural stopover in the U.S.

Based on the asset tracing requests, Edwards said, “I exposed @mymonero (project founded by @fluffypony) was a “wallet” that stole funds and deanonymized users (en masse).”

Notably, the crypto commentator has used GPT-4 to draw some of these inferences.

Meanwhile, author and analyst Nassim Nicholas Taleb retweeted the assertions. The “Black Swam” author claimed that if Monero’s chief maintainer turns out to be an Interpol informant, his claim that every Bitcoin transaction can be traced could be accurate.

Monero Founder Hits Back Denying Claims

Monero founder ‘fluffypony’ responded to the allegations by calling James Edward “brain dead.” With regard to the allegations, Spagni said, “This nonsense post is unsurprising, coming from a known scammer.”

He also took a jibe at the influencer for using ChatGPT’s GPT-4 to “analyse” the reports. Denying all claims, the Monero founder said, “At no point have I ever met with and/or helped a law enforcement agency, or a government, or an individual, or a government agency, or a company, or ANYONE to trace Monero.”

The founder defended Monero’s cryptography, saying he could not assist the government with “privileged access.” He said, “I have no privileged access to Monero’s code, GitHub repo, website, Twitter account, DNS records, donated funds, or anything else.”

That said, Spagni agreed on Edwards’ thread that Interpol did ask him for assistance but “never followed up with what they needed assistance with.”

In defense, the founder stated, “They never responded with any details, they never reached out and told me what the request was with. It might not even have had anything to do with Monero, I have literally no idea what it was about.”

According to Crunchbase, Spagni founded Monero in 2014 and registered it in Australia. Monero underwent a hard fork in August last year to bring many privacy upgrades. In October 2022, Monero developers were speculated to be behind an attack on Zcash.

Monero XMR Price Chart by BeInCrypto
Monero XMR Price Chart by BeInCrypto

At press time, Monero’s privacy-focused coin XMR is trading at $152 after a muted performance this week.

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Shraddha Sharma
Shraddha is an India-based journalist who worked in business and financial news before diving into the crypto space. As an investment enthusiast, she has also has a keen interest in understanding crypto from a personal finance standpoint.
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