Article By Pete Rizzo
Investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have been ordered to pay back $45,000 in legal fees incurred by entrepreneur Charlie Shrem as part of an ongoing lawsuit that alleges he failed to broker a series of promised cryptocurrency purchases on their behalf.
In the order, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York on Thursday, Judge Jed S. Rakoff ruled Shrem should be reimbursed for a prior court ruling that gave the plaintiffs the ability to seize up to $30 million worth of his assets.
The initial order was rolled back on November 8, at which point Shrem filed a motion to recoup attorney’s fees and related costs to defending the motion.
Lawyers for Winklevoss Capital had attempted to argue Shrem should not recoup the funds for his costs, as he was only ultimately only charged a “de minimis amount” of less than $5. The court, however, ultimately rejected the idea this invalidated Shrem’s claim, though the judge found the requested damages should be reduced by 40 percent on reviewing the charges.
Brian Klein, partner at Baker Marquart LLP, said of the ruling:
“We are glad that the judge ruled for Charlie and ordered WCF to reimburse him for legal fees he incurred in overturning WCF’s approximately $30 million attachment order. This is another big step towards his full vindication.”
Overall, the court filing is the latest in a recent lawsuit that has pitted three high-profile cryptocurrency industry personalities and former business partners against each other in the headlines.
Winklevoss Capital was previously an investor in Shrem’s first startup BitInstant, an early cryptocurrency exchange that was one of the most public before its eventual shut down in 2013. Shrem was later found to have violated anti-money laundering rules during his tenure as CEO, for which he would ultimately serve a one-year prison sentence.
A trial is now set to hear further arguments in the ongoing lawsuit this June.
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Charlie Shrem image via CoinDesk archives