The founder of what reportedly claims to be Australia’s first online mattress retailer OzMattress and cryptocurrency fund manager Stefanos Papanastasiou is about to be brought to court by his clients over the loss of over AUD$20 million ($14.2 million). Daily Australian newspaper The Age reported about the controversy on March 19.
Per the report, Papanastasiou told his clients in 2017 that he had spent half a million Australian dollars ($355,000) to develop an algorithm that delivers substantial returns through the trading of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH)-based tokens. According to the claim filed by property developer Savvas Alexiadis, one of his clients, Papanastasiou owes him more than AUD$2.7 million (nearly $2 million).
The documents filed with the Supreme Court of Victoria state that Alexiadis transferred over AUD$2.1 million (nearly $1.5 million) into a Papanastasiou’s trading account. Furthermore, he reportedly also transferred an unspecified quantity of BTC into wallets managed by Papanastasiou.
The claim also cites messages allegedly sent by Papanastasiou:
“Sam, don't get caught up in the details. Leave it to me. Let me know password login for ACX [trading account]. I'll deal with whatever funds are in there ... Eyes on the prize Sam. Understood? Got your back.”
Furthermore, the documents also claim that Papanastasiou asked Alexiadis to transfer AUD$40,000 (over $28,000) to his wife, AUD$35,000 (nearly $25,000) to his sister and $450,000 (almost $320,000) to a mattress supplier in Thomastown, promising to send an equivalent in crypto assets.
The Age notes that Papanastasiou and his wife, Shalini Ganapathy, defaulted on the purchase of a AUD$5.44 million house after December 2017, when Bitcoin had reached its $20,000 peak.
The website of Papanastasiou’s mattress retail business, OzMattress, is seemingly offline at press time. The claim also notes that Papanastasiou has repeatedly refused to provide an account of trading activity and did not comply with requests to repay the amounts asked by his clients.
In response to Alexadais’s claim to return the around $2 million, Papanastasiou reportedly said:
“The Supreme Court action is new to me and I intend to defend myself against his claim as he has been compensated in excess of $2.7m [...] Sam [Alexadais] and his associates have a lot to answer for as the truth of events is vastly different and far more sinister.”
Also, Mark Thompson, a former Australian Football League coach accused of MDMA and methamphetamine trafficking in May last year, contributed over one million Australian dollars (about $709,000) to Papanastasiou’s fund as one of his clients.
As Cointelegraph reported, the Australian anti-money laundering watchdog has recently suspended the registrations of two cryptocurrency exchanges in connection with an unrelated drug trafficking case.
In other law enforcement and crypto news, a United States District Attorney also recently charged the founders of an international cryptocurrency pyramid scheme that involved the marketing of an allegedly fraudulent digital currency called “OneCoin.”