Francesco Firano, the founder of Bitgrail, is accused of fraud related to the massive hack back in 2018, as Italian authorities have found him responsible for the fraudulent activity.
It has been reported by the Postal and Communications Police, a cybercrime unit of the State Police of Italy, that Firano kept the platform intact for months despite having identified a major security breach involving Nano cryptocurrency.
The report stated:
“In keeping the platform open, despite having identified illicit withdrawals of Nano coins, and not informing the Nano team […] FF continued to attract new users, who rose from 70,000 to about 217,000 within a few months, benefiting from the notoriety of being the first and only Italian exchange to deal with [Nano].”
However, Firano denied allegations by the police by claiming that the authorities provided false information about the matter.
.@bomberfrancy, founder of now-defunct crypto exchange @BitGrail, is accused of taking over customer funds prior to reporting the $150 million theft https://t.co/pgKiDgucGp — Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) December 21, 2020
He argued on Twitter:
“The postal police went into hiding instead of correcting the articles.”
He also noted that he was not arrested by the police.
The report indicates that Firano withdrew 230 Bitcoin (BTC), worth 1.7 million euro, or about $1.9 million, at the time, just three days before reporting the larger theft of Nano that occurred in prior months. The BTC was traced to Firano’s personal account at The Rock Trading exchange platform.
While the authorities noted that there were attempts to convert the money, the majority of the funds remained in the company’s accounts. Authorities have stated that the actual hackers who stole the Nano remain unidentified. In a preliminary injunction, Firano was barred from holding managerial positions or conducting business activities, but his liberty of movement is otherwise not restricted.
In February 2018, Firano officially announced that 17 million Nano, formerly known as Raiblocks, was stolen in a hack.
Thus, Nano developers subsequently provided an official comment showing that Firano asked for the altcoin’s ledger to be altered the next day after reporting the hack.