Ang v Reliantco: Exchange ordered to pay millions to wronged trader
Following Ramona Ang’s victory over Reliantco in last year’s trial, the UK High Court has ordered the company to pay almost £1.5 million.
The case arose after Reliantco, the Cyprus-based operator of the UFX cryptocurrency exchange, had—without good reason—blocked the account of Ramona Ang, a user who had found great success on the platform by turning an investment of $200,000 into $700,000. At the end of 2020, Ang succeeded at trial, with the Judge agreeing that Ang was entitled not only to her initial investment and subsequent gains, but for the gains she would have earned based on her trading plan—one that she was unable to execute thanks to Reliantco blocking her account.
The amount comprises both the money awarded from the lawsuit and costs incurred by Ang in pursuing the action. Ang’s husband, Dr. Craig Wright, is also to be paid £63,000 in costs relating to an unsuccessful third party disclosure request made by Reliantco in the run-up to trial and a further £47,500 following an unsuccessful attempt by Reliantco after the trial to overturn the amount of costs payable by it to Dr. Wright.
Ang had also previously made an offer to settle with Reliantco, which was rejected. As the ultimate award in the case exceeded that settlement offer, the Judge held that Ang is also entitled to an additional payment of £37,500 as dictated by the UK’s civil procedure rules.
Reliantco must also pay Ang’s costs in the action. The bulk of the costs are still to be determined, but Ang is entitled to a more favorable calculation that she may otherwise have received, again as a result of the rejected settlement offer. The Judge ordered the payment of £700,000 on account of the costs while true amount is still to be determined between the parties.
The judgment and subsequent costs order are nothing short of a complete victory of Ang and the broader digital asset community. This case demonstrates the lengths an exchange will go in order to withhold money invested on their platform, and especially when that investment goes on to prove successful. Now that the Court has awarded Ang not just for the investment but for the gains she otherwise might have earned based on the positions she took and the positions she would have taken had she been allowed access to her funds—plus legal fees—the Ang case is likely serve as a banner case for digital asset investors being exploited by their exchanges.
It might not lead to better behavior from digital asset exchanges, but it will certainly provide hope for those put in a similar position to Ang.
Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups—from BitMEX to Binance, Bitcoin.com, Blockstream, ShapeShift and Ethereum—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.
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