A South African regional court recently ruled to release former Monero lead maintainer, Riccardo Spagni, from custody. The ruling came just a few days after his arrest by local law enforcement agents, a report has said. Prior to his release, Spagni aka Fluffypony told the court he had returned to South Africa voluntarily and that he was not a flight risk.

US Judge Grants Motion for Spagni’s Extradition

A South African regional court magistrate recently ruled to release fraud-accused former Monero lead developer, Riccardo Spagni, from custody on a warning, a report has said. The magistrate’s decision to release Spagni came just days after he was arrested and taken into custody when he landed at the OR Tambo International Airport.

As previously reported by Bitcoin.com News, Spagni was arrested in Nashville, Tennessee on 21 July 2021 by U.S. law enforcement agents. The arrest was at the instigation of the South African government. Since then, Spagni has remained in U.S. custody pending the finalization of the extradition process.

Initially, Spagni is reported to have resisted attempts to extradite him to South Africa. However, on June 30, a motion for his extradition was eventually granted by a U.S. magistrate judge, Alistair E. Newbern. This then paved the way for his transfer from the United States to South Africa where he reportedly arrived on July 11.

Spagni’s Covid-19 Explanation

Meanwhile, a Soweto Live report said that before the July 15 ruling, the prosecution team had argued against releasing the former Monero developer from custody pending the trial. An affidavit signed by an investigating officer named Steven Pritchard explained why Spagni, who previously failed to attend court hearings because he feared contracting Covid-19, may not suitable candidate for bail.

“I subsequently searched the internet and discovered that [Spagni] attended a crowded Bitcoin convention in Miami with celebrities [including Paris Hilton] between June 4 and June 5 2021. This appeared in a photo and [he] was not wearing a mask,” Pritchard reportedly said in his affidavit.

In response to the prosecution’s arguments, Spagni insisted in his own affidavit that he was not to blame for his alleged non-appearance at scheduled court hearings. The former Monero developer confirmed he initially resisted being extradited and that he chose to return to South Africa “voluntarily under circumstances where my release on warning had not been canceled and the state had to cancel it.”

Spagni also went on to give the court reasons why he had to be released on a warning. According to the Soweto Live report, Spagni is expected to return to court on July 19.

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Terence Zimwara

Terence Zimwara is a Zimbabwe award-winning journalist, author and writer. He has written extensively about the economic troubles of some African countries as well as how digital currencies can provide Africans with an escape route.

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