A South African regional court recently decided to release former Monero official Riccardo Spagni from police custody. The decision came just days after he was arrested by local law enforcement officers, according to a report. Prior to his release, Spagni aka Fluffypony told the court that he voluntarily returned to South Africa and was not at risk of fleeing.
US judge grants request for Spagni’s extradition
A South African regional court magistrate recently decided to release former Monero lead developer Riccardo Spagni on fraud charges after a warning, according to a report. The magistrate’s decision to release Spagni came just days after he was arrested and taken into custody when he landed at OR Tambo International Airport.
As previously reported by Bitcoin.com News, Spagni was arrested in Nashville, Tennessee on July 21, 2021 by US law enforcement officers. The arrest was at the instigation of the South African government. Since then, Spagni has remained in custody in the United States pending the finalization of the extradition process.
Initially, Spagni reportedly resisted extradition attempts to South Africa. However, on June 30, a extradition request was eventually granted by an American magistrate judge, Alistair E. Newbern. This then paved the way for his transfer from the United States to South Africa where he is believed to have arrived on July 11.
Spagni’s Covid-19 explanation
Meanwhile, a Soweto Live report said that prior to the July 15 ruling, the prosecution team had opposed releasing the former Monero developer pending trial. An affidavit signed by an investigator named Steven Pritchard explained why Spagni, who had not attended court hearings because he feared contracting Covid-19, might not be a suitable candidate for bail.
“I then searched the internet and found that [Spagni] attended a crowded Bitcoin convention in Miami with celebrities [including Paris Hilton] between June 4 and June 5, 2021. This appeared in a photo and [he] was not wearing a mask,” Pritchard reportedly said in his affidavit.
In response to the prosecution’s arguments, Spagni insisted in his own affidavit that he was not responsible for his alleged failure to appear for the scheduled hearings. The former Monero developer confirmed that he initially resisted extradition and chose to return to South Africa “voluntarily under circumstances where my release on warning had not been overturned and the state had to cancel it”.
Spagni also gave the court reasons why he should be released on warning. According to the Soweto Live report, Spagni is set to return to court on July 19.
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