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Judge orders video game developer to freeze accounts belonging to Ontario's so-called 'Crypto King'


An Ontario judge has ordered the developer behind the popular video gaming platform Steam to freeze the accounts of Ontario’s so-called ‘Crypto King’ to prevent him from trading or liquidating assets.

After a Thursday court hearing, Ontario Superior Court Justice Black signed off on the order to Valve Corporation put forward by bankruptcy trustee Grant Thornton. It requires Valve to provide the trustee with all information pertaining to the 25-year-old’s Steam account.

The court proceeding took place two weeks after a bankruptcy report revealed Pleterski transferred more than $500,000 on video gaming platforms in a series of transactions, which included selling valuable in-game items called Skins – specifically, virtual knives – that players can extract for real money or in-game currency.

The trustee has repeatedly asked Pleterski and Steam for access to these accounts, but has not been granted access, court documents show.

The trustee also asked for a two year extension of Pleterski’s bankruptcy, which began in Aug. 2022, in response to what he described as his “catch me if you can” approach in a court document filed Thursday.

In the almost two years since the now 25-year-old was petitioned into bankruptcy, only approximately 18.5 per cent of the money invested with him has been recovered, according to the trustee’s calculations.

In that time, Pleterski has not handed over some of his assets – for instance, a Jacob & Co. Astronomia Casino watch worth over $360,000 when purchased – while paying for months of world travels with undisclosed Scene+ points – creating circumstances classified as “exceptional” by the trustee, documents show..

“It’s quite apparent that full recovery from their losses is not coming through the bankruptcy process,” Norman Groot, a fraud recovery lawyer representing investors, said.

Half a dozen of his clients will launch new civil claims soon that could follow Pleterski for life, Groot said.

“These civil judgments for fraud, once there's a declaration of surviving a bankruptcy, that lasts for life. Mr. Pleterski is a young guy with lots of time to attempt a recovery,” Groot said.

While Pleterski did not appear to be in attendance for the virtual hearing, his lawyer Michael Simaan requested more time to respond to the trustee’s request for a bankruptcy extension.

He cited Pleterski’s “limited capacity” to deal with bankruptcy matters as he faces criminal charges of fraud and money laundering with his first court appearance scheduled next week.

“There's a lot of allegations that are made, but it's something that he needs to put his voice before you,” Simaan said.

Justice Black granted over a month for Pleterski to respond, with two conditions – he’s permanently banned from holding a credit card and soliciting or marketing investments, and he must provide his login information for his Steam and Binance accounts.

The trustee has also recommended that the eventual discharge of Pleterski – the final step in the bankruptcy – be conditional on him paying $4.5 million for allegedly unaccounted assets. Top Stories

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