The Winklevoss twins have had their lawsuit against Charlie Shrem, who they claim stole 5,000 BTC from them in 2012, dismissed following a five-month battle. The suit was “dismissed with prejudice” by the United States District Court Southern District Of New York, meaning it cannot be re-filed. This essentially draws a line under the Winklevoss’ efforts to reclaim the BTC they feel was taken from them by Shrem when Bitcoin was worth $12, leaving Shrem with the $26 million bounty, or what remains of it.
The Case of the Missing Bitcoin
Shrem acted as the Winklevoss’ adviser in crypto matters way back in 2012 when they first became interested in it. The twins claimed that Shrem bought a total of $1 million worth of BTC on their behalf but what they received was 5,000 BTC short according to the price at the time. Soon after, Shrem was arrested for money laundering for which he would serve half of a two-year prison sentence. Upon entering prison in 2015 Shrem said he was financially cleaned out, which must have been news to the Winklevoss’ who believed him to be in possession of $1.25 million worth of their BTC.
Within two years of his release from prison Shrem was showing just how broke he was by picking up two Maserati cars, two powerboats, a $2 million mansion in Florida, and other real estate. This coincided with Bitcoin’s sensational rise to $20,000, which would have taken the value of Shrem’s holding to $100 million, had he owned any of it.
Shrem’s sudden wealth prompted the Winklevoss twins into action and they hired an investigator to look into the missing coins. The investigator found that the coins had been moved to exchanges Coinbase and Xapo, and the twins launched legal action in November 2018, stating that Shrem had either been “incredibly lucky and successful since leaving prison, or — more likely — he ‘acquired’ his six properties, two Maseratis, two powerboats and other holdings with the appreciated value of the 5,000 Bitcoin he stole.”
At the time of the filing, Shrem’s assets were worth $32 million, which was what the twins sought in recompense. A judge froze Shrem’s assets the same month before unfreezing them just days later while continuing to look into the case. In February 2019, the court reduced the scope of the twins’ claim, a sign that things weren’t going well for the former Facebook boys, who were ordered to pay $45,000 to Shrem in legal cost reimbursements. Two months later with the case now dismissed, the twins have no hope of getting their BTC back, BTC that Shrem claims he was never in possession of in the first place, although he has yet to fully explain how he came into his fortune having been broke just three years earlier. Don’t feel too bad for the Winklevoss twins though – they’re still worth around $1.5 billion.