Reuters|May 2014|Underage sex claims rock Bitcoin group

As the most prominent trade group pushing adoption of the electronic currency Bitcoin begins its annual conference on Friday, it is being roiled by controversy.

At least 10 members of the nonprofit Bitcoin Foundation have resigned over last week’s election of onetime Disney child star and current Bitcoin entrepreneur and financier Brock Pierce [note: Pierce is associated with Louis Freeh through Sunlot Holdings] as a new director, officials at the group said.

Some of the members cited Pierce’s troubled past. That includes allegations in lawsuits from three employees of Pierce’s first company, bankrupt web video business Digital Entertainment Network, that he provided drugs and pressured them for sex when they were minors.

Read the story


Forbes|Feb 2018|Forbes’ First List Of Cryptocurrency’s Richest: Meet The Secretive Freaks, Geeks And Visionaries Minting Billions From Bitcoin Mania

by Jeff Kauflin

And CZ is downright normal by crypto-billionaire standards. Former child actor Brock Pierce (The Mighty DucksFirst Kid) dresses like a cut-rate Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean and is given to making grandiose statements from the balcony of his penthouse in Santa Monica, California. “This is an opportunity to be a trillionaire—someone who is positively impacting a trillion living things on this planet,” he tells Forbes. Pierce once raised $60 million from Goldman Sachs with the help of Stephen Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, to fund a company that sold virtual swords, chain mail and horses to role-playing videogamers. He also once got into trouble with his partners in a 1990s-era dot-com startup after they were accused, in civil lawsuits, of sexual abuse of underaged boys. (Pierce has always denied the accusations and was never charged; one of his business partners, however, pleaded guilty to transporting minors across state lines for the purpose of sex.)

Pierce was early into the crypto game, first mining Bitcoin and then financing blockchain startups and investing in dozens of initial coin offerings. Although he publicly proclaims he is pledging a billion dollars to charity, he refuses to provide documentation that proves he has anywhere near that much money.

Read the story

arsTechnica|May 2014|Some in Bitcoin group resign over new board member’s link to sex abuse


The Bitcoin Foundation, a trade group composed of hundreds of individuals and companies involved in the cryptocurrency’s promotion, has been hit with at least a dozen resignations in the wake of the election of a new controversial board member. The board is the most public face of Bitcoin and acts as the governing body for the Bitcoin Foundation, making executive decisions on behalf of its members.

Last Friday, American entrepreneur Brock Pierce was elected as one of two new board members to the body, which now comprises seven people, recently expanded from five.

Fifteen years ago, Pierce cofounded a Southern California startup called Digital Entertainment Network. Despite raising tens of millions in venture capital, that company eventually went under. Not long before the company was slated to have its initial public offering in 1999, Pierce and two other cofounders were named in two civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of underage boys. Pierce was never charged criminally.

One of those cofounders, Marc Collins-Rector, is now a convicted sex offender, having pleaded guilty to related charges in two states.

Pierce also did not respond to a 2013 civil lawsuit filed against him by UBS Bank for having run up an unpaid credit card bill of over $120,000. UBS won that lawsuit in November 2013 by default.

Pierce is also one of the leaders of a new firm, Sunlot Holdings Limited, which has moved to buy the beleaguered Mt. Gox. [note: Louis Freeh was involved in the Sunlot attempt to takeover Mt. Gox] The once-largest Bitcoin exchange collapsed earlier this year and has filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan and the United States. Pierce is most famous for having been a child actor in The Mighty Ducks film series. In subsequent years, he became involved in a number of tech startups, including Internet Gaming Entertainment.

Read the story

arsTechnica|Apr 2014|Investors step forward to acquire Mt. Gox, settle class-action lawsuits


Gregory Greene, the Illinois man who brought a proposed class-action lawsuit against Mt. Gox in the US, now says that he has come to a settlement agreement with two of the site’s principals and its potential buyer. The revelation comes from new court documents filed late Monday night.

Meanwhile, Mt. Gox still awaits word on its sale to that potential buyer. If approved by the Japanese court where the embattled Bitcoin exchange filed for bankruptcy in February 2014, Mt. Gox would be sold to a new company, Sunlot Holdings Limited.

In February 2014, Mt. Gox announced it lost 750,000 bitcoins belonging to its customers as well as 100,000 of its own bitcoins after weeks of DDOS attacks and “transaction malleability” problems. In total, Mt. Gox is estimated to have lost $468 million worth of bitcoins, prompting the exchange to file for bankruptcy protection in Japan and the United States. Shortly thereafter, the exchange halted all withdrawals, and plaintiffs in both Canada and the US suspected large-scale fraud and took legal action.

According to the terms of the proposed Greene US settlement, new owners Sunlot would assume all the assets and liabilities of Mt. Gox. Under the proposed deal, class action suits filed in the United States and Canada would be settled, but terms of the settlement from the sister case in Canada have not yet been filed.

According to a leaked confidential “proposed rehabilitation plan” filed with the Tokyo district court, published online last week, Sunlot describes itself as a “special-purpose investment vehicle registered in Republic of Cyprus” led by Brock Pierce and John Betts.

Sunlot’s leaked document mentions that the Freeh Group, a global risk management firm founded by former FBI director Louis Freeh, would lead “cooperation with forensic (digital) investigations.”

“The value we, the Sponsor Company, can bring to the business rehabilitation of Mt. Gox company is the specialized capabilities in the areas of management, finance, and technology as Bitcoin specialists, and it is precisely these that can overcome the current crisis, restart the exchange, and grow the business once again, thereby serving as a resource for the capacity to make payments to creditors,” Sunlot argues in its 33-page filing.

Read the story

Reuters|Apr 2014|Investor group offers to take over, revive Mt. Gox

by Nathan Layne

TOKYO (Reuters) – A group of investors have offered to take over the assets of Mt. Gox and revive the bankrupt bitcoin exchange with the help of experts including the investigative firm of a former FBI director, according to a court filing in Japan.

The offer, filed with the Tokyo District Court last month, marks the first time that anyone has submitted a proposal to sponsor the rehabilitation of Mt. Gox since it sought bankruptcy protection from creditors on February 28.

The group, which includes former child actor-turned entrepreneur Brock Pierce and venture capitalist William Quigley, made the offer through a special purpose company established in the Cyprus Republic, the court filing shows.

None of the principals of the company, called Sunlot Holdings Ltd., could be reached for comment. Alpha Partners Law Offices, which is representing Sunlot in Tokyo, declined to comment.

In the filing, the group listed Freeh Group International Solutions, a firm established by former FBI director Louis Freeh that has carried out a series of investigations into high-profile scandals, among a team of advisers it planned to tap for Mt. Gox.

No one at the Freeh Group could immediately be reached for comment.

Under the group’s proposal, creditors would have the option of receiving payment from the 200,000 recovered bitcoins or receiving the equivalent amount in equity in the new exchange, according to the filing.

Read the story

Washington Monthly|Sep 2018|This Shady Consultant Is Paying Guiliani While He’s Also Trump’s Lawyer

by Mike Lofgren
September 17, 2018

One of the endlessly fascinating things about Washington is that once you start pulling a thread close to one of the town’s gray eminences, there is no telling what you might find.

The press recently reported that Rudy Giuliani is trying to pressure the Romanian government to soften its anti-corruption campaign to benefit a Romanian-American real estate tycoon who was convicted and sentenced to prison. The fact that Giuliani is performing this service while he’s also the White House counsel is troubling enough. But what should have garnered more attention—and so far has not—is that Giuliani is being paid by the Freeh Group, a private consultancy run by former FBI director Louis Freeh.

Freeh’s involvement in this case fits a pattern of his mercenary post-government career. Far more seriously, Freeh was also a lawyer for Prevezon, a money-laundering Russian company caught up in Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Prevezon is also represented by Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who notoriously participated in the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Russian operatives and Paul Manafort, Donald Trump, Jr., and Jared Kushner to discuss supposed “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

You may wonder why someone who headed our nation’s counter-intelligence efforts for eight years would be involved with such miscreants. Well, it turns out, working for these kinds of people is almost exclusively what Freeh has been doing since his FBI tenure ended.

Read the story

Business Insider|Nov 2017|Former FBI director represented Russian firm at center of major money-laundering probe

by Natasha Bertrand
Nov. 16, 2017, 11:23 AM

The Russian-owned real-estate firm Prevezon earlier this year hired former FBI Director Louis Freeh to help the company negotiate a settlement agreement with the US government over an alleged money-laundering operation that involved an elaborate Russian tax-fraud scheme that implicated high-level Kremlin officials.

That detail was in a memorandum released on Thursday by Joon Kim, the acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, seeking to enforce the settlement agreement Prevezon struck with the government in May for roughly $5.9 million.

Prevezon is also represented by Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with top Trump campaign officials in June 2016 at Trump Tower to lobby for repealing the 2012 Magnitsky Act.

Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions in July asking whether Veselnitskaya was “involved at any point in the settlement negotiations.” But Prevezon hired Freeh specifically to help with the firm’s settlement discussions early this year, the memorandum says.

Freeh, who was the director of the FBI from 1993 to 2001, has been known to take on controversial clients since entering the private sector in the early 2000s. In 2015, for instance, he represented an Israeli billionaire accused of bribing the government of Guinea for a stake in an iron mine.

Read the story