The judge said that imprisonment wasn’t necessary because Jatinder Singh couldn’t flee Australia without his Indian passport.
The Crypto.com customer who was accidentally sent $6.95 million from the exchange in 2021 and then allegedly went on a spending spree has been granted bail in Australia despite $2 million funds still unaccounted for.
In the Victorian County Court, prosecutors on March 20 tried to convince the judge that imprisonment would be the only way to ensure that Jatinder Singh would not flee the country.
The blunder by Crypto.com came about when a Bulgarian-based employee accidentally transferred $6.95 million to his account instead of what was meant to be a $100 refund in May 2021. The Melbourne man is alleged to have bought four houses and a car with the funds, along with sending a portion overseas.
Prosecutors argued that Singh is financially motivated to flee the country because only $4.9 million has been recovered, according to a report from the Herald Sun.
Of the missing $2 million, over $1.45 million is believed to have been shifted offshore to Malaysia, the court heard.
Senior Constable Conor Healy told the judge that Singh “may have access to the outstanding money that has not been recovered yet,” while prosecutor Peter Botros argued that Singh posed an “unacceptable” flight risk because he was living without a visa, had no family in Australia and was unemployed prior to his arrest.
However, Judge Daniel Holding didn’t think this was enough to put Singh behind bars. He instead explained that confiscating Singh’s Indian passport and preventing him from applying for a new one at the Indian Embassy would be sufficient:
“If there is a condition that he not have a passport or he not apply for a passport … how does he manage to flee the country?”
Singh is facing a series of theft charges alongside his partner, Thevamanogari Manivel, who is the owner of the bank account to which the funds were transferred.
Both pleaded not guilty to the charges. They continue to claim that they rightfully won the $7 million through a Crypto.com contest.
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While the incident occured in May 2021, it was not discovered until an annual audit in December 2021.
The Singaporean-based cryptocurrency exchange has since launched civil action in the Victorian Supreme Court to recover the losses.
The Victoria Supreme Court h ruled that the funds must be returned to the company.