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Judgment handed down in Wright v McCormack

Published:

In a judgment handed down on 5 July 2024, Mr Justice Mellor has granted a Worldwide Freezing Order (WFO), on the application of Peter McCormack, by which Dr Craig Wright was restrained for dissipating his assets up to the sum of approximately £1.5m and made subject to various ancillary orders.

The WFO was made in the context of a libel claim previously brought by Dr Wright against Mr McCormack (a podcaster on issues relating to bitcoin and cryptocurrency). Those libel proceedings related to various publications in which Mr McCormack had made allegations to the effect that Dr Wright had fraudulently claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of bitcoin. That claim came to trial in 2022 before Mr Justice Chamberlain, who held that Dr Wright had established liability in libel but was entitled to only £1 in damages as a result of the deliberately false case which Dr Wright had pursued on the issue of serious harm to reputation.

By a later judgment in separate proceedings not involving Mr McCormack, Mr Justice Mellor held that Dr Wright was not Satoshi, and had lied and forged documents extensively in seeking to prove that he was. Following that judgment, Mr McCormack brought an application for a WFO seeking to protect sums which he claimed to be entitled to recover from Dr Wright in consequence of his fraudulent claim to be Satoshi. Those included the costs which Mr McCormack had incurred in defending Dr Wright’s libel proceedings.

Mr McCormack was represented by Catrin Evans KC and Ben Silverstone, instructed by RPC.

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