Riccardo Spagni, who left Monero in 2019, is currently in custody in the United States pending possible extradition to South Africa.

US authorities have arrested Riccardo Spagni, a former lead developer of Monero (XMR), on charges that are not related to his role within the privacy-focused corner.

According to documents from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, the former Monero official was apprehended at the request of the South African government, which wants Spagni extradited to face charges related to fraud committed between 2009 and 2011.

The U.S. district court issued the warrant on July 20, 2021, and U.S. Marshals intercepted Spagni the same day while he was on a private jet bound for Los Cabos, Mexico.

The allegations against Spagni

According to court documents, Spagni worked for Cape Cookies as an IT manager, a position he allegedly used to fraudulently pay R1, 453, 561.47 (about $ 101,000). The fraud charges relate to falsified invoices, value added tax (VAT) numbers and bank details.

“SPAGNI has been charged in the Western Cape Regional Court, Cape Town, with fraud and other charges arising from these facts “, can be read in the document. « He pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the trial against him began. Evidence was presented against him, but SPAGNI did not appear in court. »

The former Cape Cookies employee is believed to have been on South Africa’s wanted list since 19 April 2021, when the Cape Town District court of First instance issued an arrest warrant for him. Following a formal request from South Africa, the United States Attorney General’s office reportedly requested an arrest warrant.

He is now in custody in the United States, pending resolution of the extradition proceedings. The courts were asked to refuse bail, with Spagni being described as a potential flight risk.

If extradited to South Africa, a conviction would result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years.