Tulip Trust files lawsuit against Ira Kleiman over billions in Bitcoin fortune

Tulip Trust trustee Ramona Ang, wife of Dr. Craig Wright, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Tulip Trust against Ira Kleiman for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty which alleges that Ira destroyed hard drives, documents and electronic data belonging to his brother which, Ira Kleiman himself alleges, contained billions of dollars of Bitcoin mined by W&K and held for the benefit of Craig Wright R&D, predecessor-in-interest to the Tulip Trust. It is important to note that the coins subject to this lawsuit are separate and apart from the Tulip Trust coins originally mined by Dr. Wright while he was operating under the Satoshi Nakamoto pseudonym. In effect, the lawsuit alleges that Ira Kleiman put his personal interest over preservation of data relating to the W&K’s Bitcoin holdings.

Ang is claiming to be a trustee. In that capacity, she alleges that through Ira’s actions following the death of his brother, information which would have been critical to the retrieval of the alleged W&K coins that have been lost:

As a result of defendant I. Kleiman’s dereliction of his duties, the Tulip Trust has irretrievably lost access to its interest in W&K’s bitcoins stored on documents and electronic devices destroyed and altered by defendant, rendering the value of the Tulip Trust’s interest in the bitcoins held by W&K completely worthless.

This has been a common theme running through Dr. Wright’s defense since the suit was first filed. Dr. Wright has complained that Ira, after the death of his brother, had destroyed or otherwise made unavailable many of Dave Kleiman’s electronic devices which would have undoubtedly contained evidence as to W&K  as well as the relationship between Dave Kleiman and Dr. Wright—issues central to the lawsuit brought by Ira. Indeed, emails which were submitted into evidence in the case show correspondence between Ira and Dr. Wright in which Ira told him that he may have “made some mistakes months ago by throwing away a bunch of Dave’s papers and formatting hard drives that [he] could not access.” Dr. Wright advised Ira to stop using the devices in order to preserve whatever data might be on there.

However, according to this latest lawsuit, Ira continued to do so, leading to the loss of information which would have potentially enabled access to the W&K coins. For this, the Trust is seeking relief based on negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.

The count of negligence is alleged on the basis that Ira knew or should have known that the devices he was formatting and/or editing contained Bitcoin public addresses, keys and/or wallets belonging to W&K and the Tulip Trust, thus he breached his duty to W&K and the Tulip Trust.

The lawsuit also alleges the breach of fiduciary duties owed by Ira toward W&K and the Tulip Trust arising out of his role as representative of Dave’s estate. Such duties require that Ira act in the best interests of those to whom the duty is owed, which the lawsuit alleges were breached by intentionally altering Dave’s electronic devices after being put on notice that they could contain important information and being advised by Wright to preserve them. Alternatively, if the breach did not occur at that point, the lawsuit alleges that it occurred when Ira altered the devices after the filing of the lawsuit, knowing them to potentially contain valuable evidence.

This is an awkward situation for Ira, who now has to answer (in a direct way) for his admitted interference with Dave’s electronic devices. If accepted by the Court, it would appear that it is Ira who owes billions of dollars.

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