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Ontario crypto king apologizes to investors in video while appearing badly beaten from kidnapping

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Video has emerged of self-described crypto king Aiden Pleterski apologizing to investors while he was badly injured from a kidnapping last December.

Toronto police announced Monday four people have been arrested in the kidnapping and torturing case of the 24-year-old from Whitby, Ont.

Court documents also indicate one of the alleged kidnappers, 39-year-old Akil Heywood, invested $740,000 with Pleterski.

Norman Groot, a lawyer representing investors who lost millions with Pleterski, told CTV News Toronto Heywood sent one of his clients the video after the kidnapping. It recently began circulating online.

In the video, obtained by CTV News Toronto, Pleterski outlines the turbulence of the last three years. It's unclear if he was under duress while the footage was taken or where the video was recorded.

He begins with his own investing in cryptocurrency in 2020, how that expanded to friends and family, and led to leasing luxury cars.

He explains the “pivot point” taking place when the crypto market started to tank the following year. “I should have been honest with everybody and told them that I lost a lot of money,” he said.

But instead, he says he tried to recoup his loses and in turn, lost more.

Aiden Pleterski, a self-described crypto king from Whitby, Ont., is seen after a kidnapping (left) and in a prior image on a private jet (right). “I apologize for everything,” Pleterski said in the just over 12-minute video. “I didn’t mean to ruin anybody’s life … I honestly feel very, very humiliated. I feel embarrassed.”

Pleterski allegedly owes at least $35 million to cryptocurrency and foreign exchange investors, who have been attempting to trace the money they handed him before he was petitioned into bankruptcy almost a year ago.

CTV News Toronto reached out to Pleterski’s lawyer for comment, but was unable to reach him.

Citing privacy reasons, police did not name Pleterski while announcing the arrests in his kidnapping case on Monday, but court documents solidify the connection. 

Toronto police said the kidnappers allegedly lured Pleterski into a car, pointed firearms at him and held him captive for three days.

Aiden Pleterski is seen standing beside a Lamborghini in an image posted on social media. The alleged kidnappers released Pleterski in downtown Toronto, demanding a large amount of money while threatening his life, along with his family, police say.

Court documents, viewed by CTV News Toronto, allege the kidnappers were looking to solicit millions in ransom before releasing Pleterski.

Four suspects were arrested in July and charged with a lengthy list of offences.

Heywood, of Toronto, is charged with kidnapping, kidnapping for ransom, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, forcible confinement and two counts of extortion.

Deren Akyeam-Pong, 24, of Toronto, is facing more than 20 charges, including kidnapping, kidnapping for ransom, forcible confinement, aggravated assault, extortion and theft of a motor vehicle. Rakeem Henry, 24, faces more than 15 charges of a similar nature.

Tyler Fast, 37, is charged with kidnapping, kidnapping for ransom, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and forcible confinement.

The suspects were scheduled to appear in court earlier in July. 

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