Ottawa Court Orders to Freeze Bitcoin Wallets; It’s a Shame they Can’t

The Canadian government sent a Mareva Injunction to Nunchuk, a hardware wallet provider, ordering them to freeze Bitcoin wallets and disclose user information.

Recently, a private class-action lawsuit was filed against participants in Canada’s “freedom convoy”. It has been successful in freezing cash received through cryptocurrency donations.

Judge Calum MacLeod of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice signed a Mareva injunction on Thursday, freezing crypto assets in more than 120 different addresses connected to BTC, ADA, ETH, LTC, and XMR. A Mareva injunction is a court order used in the United Kingdom and Canada that prevents a defendant’s assets from being spent, hidden, or moved before a judgment is issued.

Related read: Canada Invokes ‘Emergencies Act’, New Restrictions Include Crypto

The suit also instructs a number of financial institutions, platforms, and exchanges to halt any transactions involving the wallets of the listed addresses. TD Canada Trust and ATB Financial are among the financial institutions, while GoFundMe and GiveSendGo are among the fundraising platforms and websites. Bull Bitcoin, TallyCoin, BitBuy, Shakepay, Satoshi Portal, Bylls, Binance Smartchain, PancakeSwap, and Nunchuk were among the digital asset platforms and exchanges mentioned.

Alan Warnock, Tamara Lich, Benjamin Dichter, Patrick King, Christopher Garrah, and Nicholas St. Louis were named in the suit, which was filed by Zexi Li, Happy Goat Coffee Inc., and Geoffrey Devaney. It sought to freeze assets raised by Alan Warnock, Tamara Lich, Benjamin Dichter, Patrick King, Christopher Garrah, and Nicholas St. Louis.

“This court orders that the Mareva Respondents and their servants, employees, agents, assigns, officers, directors and anyone else acting on their behalf or in conjunction with any of them, and any and all persons with notice of this Order, are restrained from directly or indirectly, by any means whatsoever: (a) selling, removing, dissipating, alienating, transferring, assigning, encumbering, or similarly dealing with the assets of the Mareva Respondents listed in Schedule ‘A’; (b) instructing, requesting, counselling, demanding, or encouraging any other person to conduct themselves contrary to paragraph 2(a) above; and (c) facilitating, assisting in, aiding, abetting, or participating in any acts the effect of which is to contrary to paragraph 2(a) above, until final disposition of this action or further Order of this Court,” the filing said.

The respondents have one week to respond to the court, clarifying what their assets are for, whether they own them, and whether or not they are willing to be “subject to an oath examination.”

Pat King, one of the purported organizers of the Freedom Convoy and one of the identified parties in the Mareva order, was reportedly arrested by Ottawa police while live streaming on Facebook on Friday. Following the arrests of Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, King is the third organizer to be detained.

Related read: Canada Sanctions 34 Crypto Wallets Tied to Trucker ‘Freedom Convoy’

The plaintiffs in the action all claim that the convoy had a personal impact on them.

Henry Assad, the owner of Happy Goat Coffee Company, told Canadian media that damaged glass and continuing harassment of his employees forced him to temporarily close three shops.

According to Ivan Gedz of Union Local 613, his business is down 25-50 per cent as a result of the protests keeping clients away from downtown Ottawa.

Another plaintiff in the action, Geoffrey Devaney, has apparently been unemployed since the protests began. When Zexi Li photographed a trucker’s licence plate, she claims she was intimidated by him.

The announcement comes just days after the Canadian government seized 34 crypto addresses in connection with continuing trucker protests in the United States, which have stopped bridges and border crossings in violation of Canada’s vaccine mandate.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has also ordered exchanges to freeze some addresses, according to Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.

“The RCMP has provided the names of both individuals and businesses, as well as crypto wallet addresses, with banking institutions, and accounts have been frozen, with more to follow,” she said.

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Shambhavi Soni