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The Business Magazine November 2023
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Crypto recovery cracked thanks to Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ legal experts

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Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ (HCR) crypto asset recovery team led by Steven Murray, obtained the first summary judgment in a crypto case from the High Court of England and Wales which secured the return of fraudulent obtained Bitcoin (BTC). It is also the first summary judgment to be served by NFT.

The client fell victim to a highly sophisticated online scam, designed to encourage investment in cryptocurrencies, behind the now abandoned cryptocurrency trading platform ExTick Pro. With the assistance of crypto tracing experts CiRO and experienced Barrister and crypto specialist Andrew Maguire of Littleton Chambers, HCR supported the client to recover all his BTC.

Rather than investing the BTC on the platform, the cryptocurrency was transferred away to digital wallets – operated by Huobi Global Ltd – in the hands of the fraudsters. Thanks to a freezing order on persons unknown, a proprietary freezing order on the wallet and a Banker’s Trust Order against Huobi to disclose identities of the persons unknown – together with particulars of claim against all the defendants seeking delivery up of the BTC acquired through deceit and held under a constructive trust by Huobi – the summary judgment was granted and monies (£1.85 million) recovered.

The English Courts’ commitment to embrace change and benefit from new technology, such as NFTs, in legal proceedings, demonstrates a practical and sensible step forward to assisting victims of fraud.

Steven Murray, Partner at HCR who represented the client in this case, said: “There is no doubt that this legal development will be a welcomed approach for investors in crypto who wish to seek to trace and recover crypto assets, whilst also being a loud warning for fraudsters that have until now hidden behind the blanket of online anonymity.

“A path has now been cleared for future victims of crypto asset fraud to pursue ‘Persons Unknown’ and have a hope of recovery where they otherwise previously could not.”

Hon J Brazier of The CiRO Group, ROAR, and M2 Recovery commented: “This is a tremendous result, which has used several new tactics in global asset recovery, including the service by NFT, and one with several complicating factors involved in recovering the money in this case. The wider team who worked on this should be commended and used as a standard to be held to. I am highly impressed by the professionalism of this team, especially Steven Murray and Andrew Maguire. This case demonstrates the importance of choosing the right team. We are certainly proud to have been able to play our part.”

Andrew Maguire of Littleton Chambers said: “This is an important High Court case as it was the first reported instance in which a final order, for summary judgment, was served by NFT Airdrop into the relevant wallet. The Court exercised its power to order the termination of the constructive trust by utilising the rule in Saunders v Vautier so as to terminate the (constructive) trust and Huobi’s role as trustee causing them to deliver up the BTC.”

Harrison Clark Rickerbys has more than 800 staff and partners based at offices in Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Central England, Hereford, London, Thames Valley, Worcester and the Wye Valley, providing a complete spectrum of legal services to both business and private clients regionally and nationwide.

The firm has global reach via its network of independent law firms, LawExchange International. It also has a number of highly successful teams specialising in individual sectors, including health and social care, education, technology, agricultural and rural affairs, finance and financial services, defence, security and the forces, and construction.

To find out more, please contact Steven Murray, Partner in the Dispute Resolution team on 07921 498 467 or email [email protected]


Harrison Clark Rickerbys have offices across the UK including : Birmingham | Cambridge | Cardiff | Cheltenham | Hereford | London | Milton Keynes | Northampton | Thames Valley | Worcester | Wye Valley

Follow us on Twitter: @HCRlaw


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