The widow of QuadrigaCX founder Gerald Cotten says she is heartbroken over calls for her husband’s body to be exhumed.
Thirty-year-old Mr Cotten passed away a year ago following complications with Crohn’s disease while in India. His death sparked a huge scandal and ensuing legal battle as it was revealed he was the only person with access to the massive exchange’s holdings.
At the time, rumours and innuendo that the CEO and founder of the Canadian crypto company had faked his own death and run away with millions of dollars were rife.
It would appear that suspicion still hangs in the air following demands that Mr Cotten’s body be exhumed in order to prove he is really dead.
How an exhumation will assist with the asset recovery process, argues his widow, is unclear.
However, a group of frustrated investors still fighting to claw back their funds say an exhumation will at least deliver peace of mind that the body in the Indian grave is indeed that of Gerald Cotten.
The group has appointed Toronto lawyers Miller Thomson to formally request the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) conduct an urgent post mortem autopsy “to confirm both identity and the cause of death given the questionable circumstances surrounding Mr Cotten’s death and the significant losses of Affected Users”.
The request came just days after the first anniversary of Mr Cotten’s death. The timing has left his widow Jennifer Robertson “shocked and saddened”.
Speaking through her lawyer – Nova Scotia-based Richard Niedermayer – she questioned why further probing into the death was needed following an investigation in May 2019.
“My client, Jennifer Robertson, the wife of the late Gerald (Gerry) Cotten and executor of his estate, is heartbroken to learn of this request,” Mr Niedermayer told Coin Rivet.
“Gerry died on December 9 2018 in India – an independent investigation by the Globe & Mail confirmed this earlier this year, and it should not be in doubt.
“While Ms Robertson has assisted the Quadriga Affected Users in the recovery of assets, and has cooperated fully with Ernst & Young’s investigation, it is not clear how the exhumation or an autopsy to confirm the cause of Gerry’s death from complications arising from his Crohn’s disease would assist the asset recovery process further.”
A spokesman for the RCMP said they would be unable to comment on the exhumation request as an investigation into QuadrigaCX was ongoing.
Mr Cotten established QuadrigaCX – an exchange dealing in leading cryptocurrencies – in 2013. At the time of his death, the company held more than $250 million in customer assets.
The platform was frozen in January 2019 after announcing that Mr Cotten had died a month earlier.
Thousands of users were left unable to access their digital assets after it emerged Mr Cotten was the only person within the company with access to a series of crucial passwords.
Coupled with the circumstances surrounding his death, the password issue soon began to fuel rumours of wrongdoing among its 363,000 users who held balances totalling $180 million in cryptocurrency and more than $70 million in Canadian dollars.
Earlier this year, Jennifer Robertson was appointed as a director of QuadrigaCX and agreed to assist accountants Ernst & Young who were appointed by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia to examine the company’s finances.