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Author Topic: {ANNOUNCEMENT} WBX Exchange Frozen  (Read 39340 times)
payb.tc
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March 11, 2012, 11:28:24 PM
 #21

I think the point payb.tc was making was that ANZ is the scammer, not Andre.

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March 12, 2012, 12:42:03 AM
 #22

In today's announcement there is no timeline for the return of clients' funds.

I have been holding the WBX Bitcoins in an offsite account, for safekeeping.  They're all accounted for, and are available to withdraw right now for users with BTC balances.  I transfer them back to the WBX wallet as and when they're needed.

The server emails me when it's short of Bitcoins, so if there's ever a delay with your BTC withdrawal, it's because the server wallet was emptied and is waiting for me to transfer more in from the offsite wallet.

This is something I was doing for Andre rather than leaving them on the WBX server, in an attempt to prevent a Linode style theft.

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March 12, 2012, 01:01:13 AM
 #23

I also notice there is not announcement here or on the site's News page to match Andre's numerous copy & paste emails of today.

It seems like he sent the same reply to every email in the support queue.

I'm not begging, just putting this somewhere easy to find 1Pm2Sf4eUxksGaYujCgEpYyZ7ddjPyQ5R4
PatrickHarnett
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March 12, 2012, 01:09:43 AM
 #24

In today's announcement there is no timeline for the return of clients' funds.

I have been holding the WBX Bitcoins in an offsite account, for safekeeping.  They're all accounted for, and are available to withdraw right now for users with BTC balances.  I transfer them back to the WBX wallet as and when they're needed.

The server emails me when it's short of Bitcoins, so if there's ever a delay with your BTC withdrawal, it's because the server wallet was emptied and is waiting for me to transfer more in from the offsite wallet.

This is something I was doing for Andre rather than leaving them on the WBX server, in an attempt to prevent a Linode style theft.

Thanks for providing that information.  For those with coins, that at least makes it easier (although I would have thought most coins would have been shifted long before now).

Any information of the dollar balances?  I have half tied up in pending withdrawal status and half waiting to move.
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March 12, 2012, 01:16:41 AM
 #25

You may want to consider offering, though only as an option, to let people withdraw their fiat currency balances in Bitcoins. You can use the rate from another exchange or you can fix the week's average rate. This is probably easier for you to do than mailing people checks, especially from closed accounts. And at least offering it will reassure people that they'll be getting their money back.

I am an employee of Ripple.
1Joe1Katzci1rFcsr9HH7SLuHVnDy2aihZ BM-NBM3FRExVJSJJamV9ccgyWvQfratUHgN
payb.tc
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March 12, 2012, 01:59:07 AM
 #26

You may want to consider offering, though only as an option, to let people withdraw their fiat currency balances in Bitcoins. You can use the rate from another exchange or you can fix the week's average rate. This is probably easier for you to do than mailing people checks, especially from closed accounts. And at least offering it will reassure people that they'll be getting their money back.

yeah i'd much prefer this
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March 12, 2012, 04:40:19 AM
 #27

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

@ Andre,

Shutting down is all very well and dandy but people deserve to know exactly when they are going to be receiving their funds.

Just clamming up about things isn't exactly helping your position on this. As I know several people are more than contemplating legal action. And judging by the way you've been handling this to date I doubt that most people here put much faith if any into anything you say when you aren't being specific.

You've deregistered the company supposedly running the exchange and who knows what else has been going on without you informing your clients.

IMO Andre is just as big a scammer as ANZ in this case as he's spent well over a month trying to cover up their wrongdoing by ponzing around with CLIENT funds etc. Using other peoples deposits to cash others out etc.


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PatrickHarnett
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March 12, 2012, 08:08:46 PM
 #28

As a note, the supposed company was de-registered in December (4th).  That is actually useful as it means rather than hiding behind a limited liability company structure, the actions have taken place by Andre as an individual and he is personally liable.
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March 12, 2012, 09:29:31 PM
 #29

Still, not really a good sign that he deregisters his company without informing anyone... to me it still smells like scam. But I hope I will be proven wrong.
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March 13, 2012, 01:11:34 AM
 #30

He probably didn't de-register the company, ASIC probably deregistered it for not filling annual returns.

Furthermore, bank account payments to and from WBX are in Andre's name not the company. So again he's personally liable.


I'm not begging, just putting this somewhere easy to find 1Pm2Sf4eUxksGaYujCgEpYyZ7ddjPyQ5R4
brendio
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March 13, 2012, 06:44:39 AM
 #31

ABN is registered in Victoria: http://www.abr.business.gov.au/SearchByAbn.aspx?abn=61131700779

WBX lists address as Gold Coast, Qld: https://www.worldbitcoinexchange.com/?page=help

Quote
High Net Worth Property Pty Ltd
Trading As: World Bitcoin Exchange
ACN: 61 131 700 779
Gold Coast
Queensland
Australia
4208

Andre's linked in profile states he is in the Brisbane area: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=67791024&authType=name&authToken=oL4o&locale=en_US&pvs=pp&trk=ppro_viewmore

Hmmm ...

Looks like an address changed in January 2009. Did he just forget to update his ABN, or is it something more sinister?

Quote
   Extracted from ASIC's database at AEST 17:39:03 on 13/03/2012
Name   HIGH NET WORTH PROPERTY PTY. LTD.
ACN   
131 700 779
ABN   
61 131 700 779

These are the documents that ASIC has most recently received from or in relation to this organisation. Page numbers are shown if processing is complete and the document is available for purchase.
Date   Number   Pages   Description
07/01/2009   7E1976142   3   484 Change to Company Details
484B Change of Registered Address
484C Change of Principal Place of Business (Address)
484A1 Change Officeholder Name or Address
484A2 Change Member Name or Address
07/01/2009   7E1976102   4   484 Change to Company Details
484B Change of Registered Address
484C Change of Principal Place of Business (Address)
484A1 Change Officeholder Name or Address
484E Appointment or Cessation of a Company Officeholder
484A2 Change Member Name or Address
18/06/2008   1E4484035   3   201C Application For Registration as a Proprietary Company

PatrickHarnett
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March 13, 2012, 07:41:18 AM
 #32

Those entries all look pretty dull.  I thought he was in Orange (inland NSW).  I have some contacts in QLD.
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March 13, 2012, 12:43:59 PM
 #33

I think the Orange NSW address you are thinking of is for CryptoXChange's legal registered office address.

The ABN looks like it predates the move to Qld.

The absence of Annual Return filings reinforces a view that the company was deregistered automatically for not lodging annual returns.

However the company was not up-to-date with ASIC paperwork before it started the exchange. Strike 1 to piercing the corporate veil (and thus making Andre personally liable).

ASIC also regulates the provision of financial services in Australia. They love to go after shonky Queensland-based Kiwi get-rich-quick peddlers. And a company called "High Net Worth Property Pty Ltd" sounds like the perfect target. ASIC has powers to ban a director from working in the financial services industry, ban the holding of more directorships, or just ruin a director's reputation.

ASIC can also pierce the corporate veil and go after the director personally.

I'm not begging, just putting this somewhere easy to find 1Pm2Sf4eUxksGaYujCgEpYyZ7ddjPyQ5R4
PatrickHarnett
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March 13, 2012, 06:02:54 PM
 #34

I think the Orange NSW address you are thinking of is for CryptoXChange's legal registered office address.

The ABN looks like it predates the move to Qld.

The absence of Annual Return filings reinforces a view that the company was deregistered automatically for not lodging annual returns.

However the company was not up-to-date with ASIC paperwork before it started the exchange. Strike 1 to piercing the corporate veil (and thus making Andre personally liable).

ASIC also regulates the provision of financial services in Australia. They love to go after shonky Queensland-based Kiwi get-rich-quick peddlers. And a company called "High Net Worth Property Pty Ltd" sounds like the perfect target. ASIC has powers to ban a director from working in the financial services industry, ban the holding of more directorships, or just ruin a director's reputation.

ASIC can also pierce the corporate veil and go after the director personally.

Although I was a Kiwi working in Australia for a while, I commuted to Melbourne.  I also held a Financial Services Licence, but that was for trading electricity rather than a shonky deal.  ASIC was interesting to deal with, but on the whole the legal framework was pretty sensible.

One of the services on the web is their scam alert https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/scams

Not sure, but it does look like there could be criminal and civil proceedings here.
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March 13, 2012, 10:56:19 PM
 #35

Sorry for the cheap shot at my kiwi cousins... I went to primary school in Christchurch one autumn/winter. I held a financial services authority once too - for raising film funds.

Yes the legal framework in Oz is quite good. So you'd think Andre would man up and start talking rather than risk the legal ramifications of anybody calling the authorities.

Sadly I suspect it will come to criminal and civil proceedings as Andre is burying his head in the sand and ducking everyone.

I'm not begging, just putting this somewhere easy to find 1Pm2Sf4eUxksGaYujCgEpYyZ7ddjPyQ5R4
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March 13, 2012, 11:25:10 PM
 #36

Yes the legal framework in Oz is quite good. So you'd think Andre would man up and start talking rather than risk the legal ramifications of anybody calling the authorities.

He needs to, pay our money and btc back.

Happy to support any legal proceedings against Andre if he doesn't surface soon.

payb.tc
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March 14, 2012, 12:30:10 AM
 #37

i vote for the wild west option.
sonba
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March 14, 2012, 11:13:53 PM
 #38

Yes the legal framework in Oz is quite good. So you'd think Andre would man up and start talking rather than risk the legal ramifications of anybody calling the authorities.

He needs to, pay our money and btc back.

Happy to support any legal proceedings against Andre if he doesn't surface soon.
+1 - I'm in as well
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March 20, 2012, 01:27:46 AM
 #39

There's a new posting on the news page at WBX, presumably from Andre:

Quote
Dear Clients, Again we would like to apologize to all our clients for the delayed customer support provided over the past weeks, Effective immediately 15th March World Bitcoin Exchange (WBX) will be shutting down trading / deposits and returning all client funds. Due to increasing fraudulent transactions on our accounts, WBX cannot operate in its current capacity. Combined with multiple bank account closures, we have deemed the best course of action is to halt trading and return funds

As of the 20th of March we will start returning all clients BTC, we currently hold the majority of our BTC off line, which is managed by Chris Moore our Technical lead, you will be required to logon to your account and request a BTC Withdraw to your personal wallets.

The withdraw of AUD is on hold until we have a clear indication when FUNDS are returned by our bank.

We appreciate your patience. WBX Team

I have a few comments:

1. I've never been appointed any position at WBX.  This is the first I heard about being their "Technical lead".  I set up the exchange for Andre originally, using the open source Intersango code, and made improvements as requested, and also agreed to hold Bitcoins offsite for Andre rather than leaving the whole wallet on the shared hosting server that WBX runs from.  I don't think that makes me "Technical lead".

2. I am still holding 1768 Bitcoins for WBX.  Until recently I have been depositing them back to the exchange on an as-needed basis, to keep the number of coins actually in the wallet on the exchange server to a minimum.  I used to try to keep between 200 and 300 coins on the server to allow for day to day withdrawals, but since the Linode incident I've been keeping the exchange wallet pretty much empty.  Here's a link to the address the coins are held at, so anyone can verify that I have them still: http://blockchain.info/address/1KnAveDXHDSdXmsNdE5itum459dkNp2pnW.  Actually, doesn't prove much, just that 1768 coins are owned by someone.  So around this time tomorrow I'll move them all to 1DodGYjF5LFoKg186jANZV9U8znXjagSzS.  Perhaps someone could quote this bit before I do so.

3. On March 15th I noticed that I could no longer log in to the WBX web host.  I don't know if Andre has changed the password, or if it's a technical problem of some kind.  Each time I attempt to log in, I see:
  "Received disconnect from [IP Address]: 2: Too many authentication failures for [username]".
I immediately emailed Andre asking for clarification, but have received no response so far.

4. Also on March 15th I received an email from Andre asking me to send him the 1768.0540 BTC he thinks I am holding so that he can start returning them to the exchange users.  I suspect the 0.0540 discrepancy is due to network transaction fees.  I replied saying that I have been returning the coins as and when they are requested for withdrawal by the exchange users, but that the most recent withdrawal request looked suspicious, and that I was awaiting his decision about what to do about that withdrawal request before returning funds to the exchange that would allow it to go through.  I received no reply to that so far.

5. Although my login to the web host is no longer working, my login on the exchange is still an administrator account.  This is confusing; if Andre was trying to lock me out of the exchange then leaving me an account with admin privileges seems like an oversight.  Using the admin account I am able to see that nobody has attempted to withdraw any Bitcoins since before my login stopped working until just a few minutes ago.  Now another user is attempting to withdraw Bitcoins, but again it looks suspicious.  If Andre was reachable I'd recommend that he try to get further ID from the user, since PDF mobile phone bills are pretty easy to edit and so aren't much good as a proof of ID.

I don't want to be holding these Bitcoins any more, but I do want them to go back to their rightful owners.  This leaves me not knowing what to do for the best.  Does anyone have any words of wisdom?

payb.tc
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March 20, 2012, 01:53:50 AM
 #40

I don't want to be holding these Bitcoins any more, but I do want them to go back to their rightful owners.  This leaves me not knowing what to do for the best.  Does anyone have any words of wisdom?

i have a comment:

the burden of this disaster should not fall solely on those who's lost funds were denominated in AUD.

i think any type of capital available to WBX should be distributed among all creditors, not just go to those who were lucky enough to have a BTC balance at the right moment.
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