Quadriga CEO&x27s widow speaks out over his death and the missing crypto millions | CBC News

The widow of the man behind what was once Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange is finally sharing her side of the story after his sudden death three years ago.

gerald cotten was only 30 years old when he died in india in december 2018. he took to his grave the access codes that locked around $250 million in other people’s assets on his exchange, quadrigacx.

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In the months that followed, investigators discovered that cotten had been transferring money from the exchange to his personal accounts and engaging in other suspicious behavior.

Jennifer Robertson told CBC’s The National that she was unaware of the widespread fraud her husband had committed.

“I really hated the questions, it seemed like I should have known,” Robertson told CBC’s Andrew Chang.

“I’ve said it a million times: I don’t know… I’m tired of defending myself for something I didn’t do.”

robertson is not under investigation and has never faced criminal charges. After cotten’s death, he agreed to relinquish $12 million in assets that included vehicles and real estate. He was allowed to keep $90,000 in cash, $20,000 in retirement savings, a 2015 Jeep Cherokee, $15,000 worth of furniture and some jewelry, including his wedding ring.

He said he wants to move on with his life and hopes his new book, Bitcoin Widow: Love, Betrayal, and the Missing Millions, will be the final chapter in the chariot scandal.

the love story started with a swipe to the right

The couple’s relationship began in 2014 when Robertson swiped right on cotten’s tinder profile.

cotten, 26 at the time, said he worked in bitcoin. As the value of cryptocurrency skyrocketed, Robertson and Cotten lived a life of luxury that included exotic vacations, luxury vehicles, a yacht, and a Cessna plane.

Using cotten’s money, Robertson founded his own real estate company and managed more than a dozen properties.

Initially, Robertson also processed funds (acted as a funnel for client money) on behalf of Quadrigacx.

Robertson maintains that she knew little about the inner workings of the company and largely did as she was told.

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“I hadn’t understood how quadriga had saved money in the first place; I thought it was just a trade,” he said. “There was a lot about the chariot that I didn’t understand.”

cotten ran quadriga as a ponzi scheme

Investigative journalists Amy Castor and Takara Small have spent years following and reporting on the chariot scandal.

beaver said the cotton-operated chariot was like a ponzi scheme. “Whenever people put their money on the exchange, he used it as his personal bribe fund,” he said.

small said people were bringing duffel bags of cash to the home cotten and robertson shared. She wonders why Robertson didn’t think to question what was going on.

robertson said he was confident in cotton, and any questions were answered because banks were very “anti-bitcoin” and there were problems exchanging crypto for cash through traditional means.

“It never occurred to me [that I was breaking the law],” Robertson said.

“He was the kindest, most caring and loving husband. He was my best friend…I may have been wearing rose-colored glasses.”

robertson said he understands many people were injured and lost large sums of money due to the quadrigacx collapse.

“It’s been the most incredible pain I could ever imagine,” he said.

the collapse of cryptocurrencies

the year after robertson met cotten, the value of cryptocurrencies plummeted. when quadriga customers tried to withdraw their money from the exchange, they were met with long waits to access their funds.

It wasn’t long before withdrawals were greater than quadriga’s winnings.

There were other financial problems for cotten, too: cibc had frozen $26 million of the company’s funds due to “suspicious activity,” and another $10 million was blocked by a software bug.

Amid the turmoil in the cryptocurrency market, cotten and robertson got married and decided to travel to jaipur, india for their honeymoon. Just a few days before they left, Cotten made a will, leaving Robertson everything except $100,000 which he left to take care of his two dogs.

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robertson said something cotten said when they were drafting the will didn’t sit well with him.

“He also mentioned that the business would die without him,” he said. “and I remember asking him that in the car, like, ‘what do you mean by that? don’t you have like…aaron matthews [quadriga COO] or someone who can keep the company going?’

“and he said, ‘no, I’m the only one with banking connections, I’m the only one who knows how to make it work.'” And I thought that was weird.”

questions about cotten’s death

The circumstances surrounding Cotton’s sudden death left investors in doubt.

How could a seemingly healthy young man die suddenly from complications of Crohn’s disease? Why did Robertson wait a month to notify investors of his death?

robertson said “everything was crazy” after cotten’s death and his lawyers were the ones who decided to wait weeks before telling investors about cotten’s death.

“I let the lawyers and contractors pass it by, and I trusted they knew what to do,” he said.

Other red flags raised by investors around cotten’s death included his name being misspelled on the death certificate and his closed-casket funeral. That led to speculation that cotten may have faked her own death.

after michael perklin met cotten at a crypto meetup, they became friends and perklin later became an investor. Although he lost thousands of dollars when Quadriga went out of business, he said adding the losses from friends and family to whom he had recommended the trading platform brings the total to more than $1 million.

However, Perklin said he has no proof that Cotton is still alive. “everything i knew about gerry seems to have been a lie. but looking at the information i know now, i think he would be the kind of person who could orchestrate that.”

small said exhuming the body would be one way to put an end to those theories.

“some people think that gerald is still alive, somewhere: he is on the beach, drinking a mai tai; he is profiting from all the millions that were stolen from investors. and exhuming the body would be a big step” . it would be a form of closure for some people, ”said the little girl.

robertson said that while he’s not adamantly against the idea of ​​an exhumation, he was with cotten when he died. “I saw Gerry die, I was holding his hand when he passed away. It was a terrible, terrible moment,” he said.

roberston said he regrets cotten’s actions and the damage he has caused.

“I would never, ever steal from other people. And the fact that he did what he did: I carry his shame with me. And I will carry that shame with me probably every day for the rest of my life,” he said.

See also: Is The New Futures-Based Bitcoin ETF Really An Inferior Product?


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