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Ontario’s so-called ‘Crypto King’ transferred more than $500K on video game platforms as recently as March: bankruptcy report

Ontario’s so-called “Crypto King” Aiden Pleterski has transferred more than half a million dollars on video gaming platforms in a series of transactions made as recently as March, a new bankruptcy report shows.

The 670-page report published Thursday by trustee Grant Thornton Ltd. is the sixth released in the almost two years since Pleterski was petitioned into bankruptcy. It includes a court order for Valve Corporation, the developer behind the popular video gaming platform Steam, to freeze Pleterski’s accounts, preventing him from further trading or liquidation.

The trustee’s probe into the world of video game transactions comes in response to claims Pleterski was in possession of valuable in-game items called Skins – specifically, virtual knives – that players can trade and extract for real money or in-game currency.

The report also recommends Pleterski’s bankruptcy proceedings be extended by another two years, along with a permanent ban on holding a credit card and soliciting or marketing investments.

So far, just over $3.35 million in assets has been seized of the more than $40 million Pleterski was allegedly handed over two years.

Last week, police announced Pleterski’s arrest. At a press conference announcing criminal charges, police said Pleterski was soliciting investments as recently as February, and that he was charged with money laundering and crime over $5,000.

The measures follow concerns made by the trustee that Pleterski still appears to be living a lavish lifestyle, despite the bankruptcy. Examples of evidence of this lifestyle include images posted on social media of him wearing a custom-made Spider-Man costume on Halloween, and driving a McLaren luxury vehicle in Los Angeles. Given the bankruptcy, the trustee stated that Pleterski may have used undisclosed assets to cover these expenses.

Aiden Pleterski shows an inventory of Skins, valuable in-game items, while on a live stream in July, 2023. The trustee report showed one of those hidden assets was $13,000 worth of Scene+ points, which he used to pay for hotels and flights to London, Melbourne and California in recent months.

Pleterski’s lawyer did not provide a response on the findings, but he said he expects to provide one in some form as the bankruptcy proceedings continue.

‘You wanna see something special?’

Thursday’s report offers a new glimpse into Pleterski’s financial dealings in the world of online gaming, on which Pleterski was still actively trading on as recently as March, according to the report.

The trustee initially began investigating Pleterski’s in-game transactions on July 12, 2023, after he boasted and scrolled through an inventory of knives worth hundreds of thousands of dollars on a live stream with an influencer who has over 7.4 million followers on Instagram named Adin Ross.

“You wanna see something special?” Plerterski asked Ross in the livestream. “It’s a blue gem karambit, bro.”

“That knife is worth $100,000,” Ross replies in awe.

Aiden Pleterski reacts to a viewer’s question while hosting a live stream on Feb. 3, 2024.That month, Pleterski transferred US$280,000 (C$382,000, approximately) to CS Virtual Trade Ltd, a third-party platform where users buy and sell digital assets held on Steam, the documents states.

In another transaction on Pleterski’s Scotiabank credit card, $207,000 was spent on a similar platform. During a phone call between the trustee and Pleterski on July 27, 2023, Pleterski claimed the money transfer had been lost while gambling.

After Pleterski’s appearance on Ross’ livestream, the trustee emailed him inquiring about the Skins but, during a phone call a couple of weeks later, he claimed they’d been manufactured and were fake, the report shows.

In an effort to confirm that information, the trustee requested Pleterski’s login information and asked Steam to provide information on his account activity.

In the year since, neither Pleterski nor Steam has complied with those requests, ultimately forcing the trustee to request the information and extend the proceedings by means of a court order, according to the report. 

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