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Fifth person charged in Ontario crypto king's kidnapping days after apology video emerges


Toronto police have charged a fifth suspect in connection with the December kidnapping of so-called ‘crypto king’ Aiden Pleterski.

Pleterski, 24, is alleged to owe at least $35 million to cryptocurrency and foreign exchange investors. An Ontario Superior Court of Justice declared his company bankrupt nearly a year ago, but only $2.2 million worth of assets were seized, much less than the money allegedly owed to investors. The seized items included a $350,000 Lamborghini and $32,000 worth of jewellery.

Toronto police announced charges against four people earlier this week in connection with a kidnapping on December 5, 2022. According to police, the victim was lured into a vehicle by the suspects, two of whom pointed firearms at him once inside. Police said the victim was held captive for three days and taken to various locations where he was assaulted. The suspects demanded a large amount of Canadian currency and the victim's life and family were threatened, police said.

Investigators did not publicly identify Pleterski as the victim. However court documents obtained by CTV News Toronto allege the young man from Whitby, Ont. was kidnapped on the same day in December 2022.

Video emerged days ago of a bruised and beaten-looking Pleterski apologizing to investors and saying he would reach out to each of them personally.

Police previously said that 24-year-old Deren Akyeam-Pong of Toronto; 24-year-old Rakeem Henry of London; 39-year-old Akil Heywood of Toronto; and 37-year-old Tyler Fast of Toronto are all facing various charges in connection with the alleged kidnapping.

Court documents indicate Heywood invested $740,000 with Pleterski and he was one of five people representing the interests of investors in bankruptcy proceedings.

“I can assure you I am innocent,” Heywood told CTV News Toronto when asked about the charges earlier this week.

A fraud recovery lawyer working on the case told CTV News Toronto that Heywood resigned as an inspector on July 7, two days after being charged in Pleterski’s kidnapping.

Police said Friday that they have now charged a fifth person in connection with the Dec. 05 2022 kidnapping. They said 22-year-old Alfredo Paladino of Hamilton is now facing a list of charges as well, including kidnapping, forcible confinement, assault and a number of weapons charges.

He was scheduled to make a court appearance for a bail hearing Friday morning.

- With files from Hannah Alberga Top Stories

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