GQ’s Bitcoin article: Inside the £8 billion swindle

British-GQ-September-2016-463x600-9051798I don’t get it.

On its September 2016 cover, British GQ labels Craig Wright’s claim to be the inventor on Bitcoin a swindle, but then inside the author is still falling for parts of Wright’s con — the main one being that the late Dave Kleiman is a computer genius who could be the elusive Satoshi Nakamoto.

Pretty much everything we know about Kleiman comes from Wright and shouldn’t be trusted. There is absolutely nothing concrete to suggest Kleiman is the Bitcoin inventor. It’s almost comical when, along with the Wright claims about Kleiman, GQ cites the fact he was a guest commentator on security issues on CNN and ABC, that he had a lot of certificates from various courses he’d taken, and that he lived in the eastern US time zone as reasons for why he could well be Satoshi Nakamoto.

It’s just bizarre how much people want to believe this Wright and Kleiman tale when there’s zero proof to back it up and lots of evidence that Wright is a serial liar and a belligerent fool. As for Kleiman, I do not wish to suggest in any way that he is part of this con. He’s dead and can’t speak for himself, which makes it very easy for others, like Wright, to speak for him.

The GQ article doesn’t name Wright’s backers apart from Robert MacGregor, who seems to have been appointed as the public face of the operation. MacGregor may still be working for online gambling tycoon, Calvin Ayre, who was his boss when he was employed by Riptown Media in Vancouver last decade. Neither he nor Ayre responded to emails requesting comment about their relationship.

At this point, I still don’t know if Wright fooled Ayre and MacGregor, and if they really paid him $15 million, as the LRB maintains, and set him up with a team of 30 employees, as Wright claims in GQ. Sure Ayre’s a gambler but putting a guy who conducts himself like Wright does in charge of anything seems like a really, really stupid bet. And it’s weird that Wright says he didn’t want to come out as Satoshi while sources are telling GQ he was forced to do it by his backers. There just seems to be a whole lot of image and story crafting going on.

I’m still not sure what the real story is supposed to be, but I have a feeling it will all be told eventually. The GQ piece isn’t online yet. It’s only available in print. However, the magazine did post stunning audio of Wright’s foul mouthed tirade when he was confronted last May with the fact that his “proof” that he created Bitcoin was less than convincing.

GQ interview: Is Craig Wright the bitcoin genius? from Joseph Ingham on Vimeo.

Questions re that London Review of Books article on Bitcoin

So I finally read the London Review of Books’ magnum opus on Craig Wright, apparent pretender to the Bitcoin throne. I had never bought that Wright invented Bitcoin and the article — all 35,000 words of it — did nothing to convince me otherwise.

wright_twitter_profile

Wright had always struck me as a self promoter not a self effacing type prepared to forego the praise and attention lavished on brilliant inventors. He also seemed very concerned about his image as projected by his clothes and the photos he used to represent himself. Modest types don’t tend to call themselves “Dr.” and show themselves off in evening wear on social media.

The whole Canadian investor thing didn’t sit right either. Robert MacGregor and his company nTrust say they are in the “cloud money” business, but when I looked at their website, MacGregor was no longer listed as CEO. Nor could I figure out what exactly nTrust did and why it would be beneficial to use it. It certainly didn’t strike me as a company making so much money that its CEO would have $15 million to invest in bailing out the broke supposed inventor of Bitcoin. (nTrust apparently set up nCrypt, a new subsidiary to handle at lease some of the Bitcoin business.)

I also found it strange that while the LRB strongly hints at the involvement of Calvin Ayre in this whole Wright/Bitcoin affair, it didn’t mention that MacGregor too has ties to Bodog and Ayre going back years.

MacGregor worked at the Bodog affiliate, Riptown Media, in Vancouver for years. When he set up nTrust, it was with a group of former Riptown employees. nTrust also appears to have ties to Ayre. When police raided Ayre-linked companies in the Philippines in 2013, Robert MacGregor’s name was listed on the search warrants.

The Manila Times reported that nTrust, also known as Fenris Ventures, was suspected by Filipino police of being a front for Ayre’s illegal gambling operations. Ayre flatly denied all accusations of wrongdoing and took prosecutors and police to court, claiming there was no basis for the warrants. The Philippines appeals court recently ruled in his favour that it was an illegal search and seizure operation.

That’s about the extent of what I know for now but if you have further information I would love to hear from you. The Bitcoin inventor saga fascinates me and I would like to know more about the relationships between Robert MacGregor, Craig Wright, Stefan Matthews and Calvin Ayre.

The big question in my mind and for now is whose idea was it that Craig Wright should claim he invented Bitcoin?

ann.brocklehurst@gmail.com

 

Crown seeks direct indictment in Laura Babcock murder case

The Crown is seeking a direct indictment in the Laura Babcock murder case, raising further questions about the original investigation into her disappearance by Toronto police.

If the direct indictment is granted, it should be announced over the next few weeks and the case against the accused, Dellen Millard and Mark Smich, will proceed directly to trial without a preliminary hearing.

A direct indictment was granted last July for the related murder trial of Tim Bosma, where Millard and Smich are also charged. At the time, Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur commented: “I’m not going to speak about the case, but when this procedure is supported, it’s because there is good evidence that the person being accused will become convicted.”

Brendan Crawley, a spokesperson for the Attorney General, said the ministry does not comment on whether requests for direct indictments have been made in a specific case.

Smich and Millard are pleading not guilty on all counts and none of the allegations against them have been proven in court.

The Babcock case is very different from the Bosma murder in terms of what the public knows about the evidence. Police have said that Tim Bosma’s remains, burned beyond recognition, were found on Millard’s farm near Ayr, Ontario, and that Bosma’s truck was found in a trailer parked in the driveway of Millard’s mother, Madeleine Burns, in Kleinburg, north of Toronto. The Hamilton Spectator has reported that the victim was incinerated in a livestock incinerator found on Millard’s animal-less farm and purchased through Millardair.

In contrast, none of the evidence in the Laura Babcock case has been made public. There is also no body although the Hamilton Spectator reported that its sources believe Babcock was incinerated shortly after her disappearance in July 2012.

Many questions have been raised about how the Laura Babcock investigation was originally handled by Toronto police, who have been severely criticized for not following up on a mobile phone bill showing that the last eight phone calls she made were to Dellen Millard.

Sgt. Stephen Woodhouse — who was the lead detective in the original 2012 search for Laura Babcock told the National Post in May 2013 that investigators were never aware of any relationship between her and Dellen Millard. Contradicting her parents and ex-boyfriend, who said they had repeatedly brought the phone records to police attention, Sgt. Woodhouse said police did not see them until after Millard was arrested for the Tim Bosma murder. (Although, according to TPS operating procedures, investigators should have acquired the phone records of anyone missing under such circumstances, whether given to them by the family or not.)

“In this case we had no idea where Laura was living at the time, who her circle of friends were, what she was doing,” said Sgt. Woodhouse, who has since taken another position within Toronto Police and is no longer assigned to the case.

“In a city of 3 million people, where do you start?” he said. “We did the standard press release and put her picture out there… We followed the leads that we had.”

That the Crown would apply for a direct indictment indicates that they think they have a very strong case against Millard. This means that once police got serious about the Babcock disappearance investigation they don’t appear to have had too much difficulty finding evidence. It raises the question once again of why the investigation into Laura’s disappearance was so different pre- and post-Millard’s arrest.

In addition to the Bosma and Babcock murders, Dellen Millard has also been charged with the murder of his father, Wayne. No direct indictment is being sought in that case. Given that the Babcock and Bosma murder cases are being handled by different jurisdictions, it’s highly unlikely they will be joined and tried together.

Once again, none of the allegations against Millard and Smich have been proven in court. They are innocent until proven guilty.

What happened to Jeffrey Boucher? Read my new e-book on the case of the missing runner

Read my new e-book: The Mysterious Death of Jeffrey Boucher

You can buy it on Amazon

It’s an account of the events surrounding the disappearance of the Whitby dad and my theory on what happened to Jeffrey Boucher.

Buy The Mysterious Death of Jeffrey Boucher (or read the free sample)

Matthew Ward-Jackson: Believed to have sold Dellen Millard the gun used to kill his father, Wayne Millard

Matthew Ward-Jackson

Matthew Ward-Jackson, not as he appeared in Toronto court via video earlier today

Full story tomorrow. Here’s some background in the meantime.

Update June 10: My story is now up at the National Post. The first two paragraphs are below and here’s another photo of Matthew Ward-Jackson.

Do you see the man with the blacked-out eye in the top righthand corner?

Do you see the man with the blacked-out eye in the top lefthand corner?

The active social media life of a man believed to have sold a gun to accused triple murderer Dellen Millard has added another layer of mystery to what was already a bizarre case.

Matthew Ward-Jackson, charged with weapons trafficking in April, has almost no web presence  under his own name. Instead, the 27-year old with a tattooed face and body uses  the online aliases @Krucifix14, Krucifix North and @BIGiisho to document his life as an aspiring gangsta-style rapper. Instagram photos, YouTube videos and Facebook posts show him pouring champagne over women’s thong-clad backsides, literally throwing money around, driving classic cars and, more incongruously, taking bubble baths in a heart-shaped red tub.

Read the whole thing at the Post.

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There was ‘something off’ about alleged murderer Mark Smich

Accused killer Mark Smich gave off a bad vibe while selling cigarettes to underage students at Oakville high schools, according to one of his former customers.

“There was something off, something strange about him,” said the young man, whose name cannot be printed due to a publication ban covering all evidence relating to the trial of Mark Smich and his co-accused, Dellen Millard, for the first degree murder of Laura Babcock.

Smich’s former customer told police, who questioned him on a number of occasions, that he didn’t know his former cigarette supplier well. “I was not afraid, but not 100 percent comfortable” around him, he said.

Both Smich and Millard are pleading not guilty to all murder charges against them.