EY Suggests Placing Crypto Exchange QuadrigaCX in Bankruptcy

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QuadrigaCX, the controversial Canadian crypto exchange might be stepping towards bankruptcy, as proposed by the court-appointed monitor Ernst and Young (EY).

EY stated in a new report posted Tuesday that the QuadrigaCX’s creditors “will benefit” from converting its current restructuring process under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) to a new one under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA). The company further added:

“Transitioning from the CCAA to the BIA will streamline the administration of the proceedings, reduce the level of professional involvement and provide enhanced investigative powers for the Trustee. As set out in previous reports of the Monitor, the current objective of these CCAA proceedings is data and asset recovery. Given the present circumstances, the possibility that Quadriga will restructure and emerge from CCAA protection appears remote.”

EY’s was handed over the responsibility to figure if Quadriga’s missing or frozen $190 million in crypto can still occur under the BIA. The exchange first reported at the end of January that the platform was unable to locate some $136 million in crypto and needed assistance pulling another $53 million from third-party payment processors.

EY’s Suggestion

As per EY, there are a number of benefits to moving for bankruptcy including allowing Quadriga to sell any valuable assets, reducing governance issues by removing the need for a chief restructuring officer or directors, allowing representative counsel to continue to participate and giving the exchange’s trustee “additional investigatory powers” without requiring court orders.

EY adds that bankruptcy is also likely to be cost-effective, elaborating that one of the cost reductions would come from no longer having to update the court on the exchange’s efforts to recover funds.  The report says:

“It would remain available to the Trustee to provide reports to Affected Users during the bankruptcy”.

Third-party payment processors

As for Tuesday’s report, a number of third-party payment processors holding fiat currencies on Quadriga’s behalf were discussed. Some, including VoPay, have confirmed that they are holding funds but may require court orders to return them. Other firms like WebBank 21, which recently rebranded to Black Banx haven’t reportedly responded to EY. As per the report, Black Banx is holding roughly $9 million CAD ($6.7 million USD) that belongs to Quadriga.

Quite interestingly, one payment processor which conducted business with Quadriga is operated by Jennifer Robertson, the widow of Quadriga founder Gerald Cotten. However, the firm, Robertson Nova Consulting Inc., claims to not be holding any funds on the exchange’s behalf. EY added:

“Counsel for Ms. Robertson also indicated that Ms. Robertson would work to obtain final statements from the financial institutions that held accounts for RNCI and would provide them to the Monitor once available.” 

Asset preservation

The report further added that it was filing an Asset Preservation Order, which involves all assets held by the Cotten Estate, Ms. Roberston, the Seaglass Trust, Robertson Nova Consulting Inc., and Robertson Nova Property Management Inc. due to concerns that corporate and personal boundaries between Quadriga and Cotten were not maintained. EY wrote:

“Quadriga funds may have been used to acquire assets held outside the corporate entity.” 

If approved, the order will stop Robertson or any of the companies named from selling or otherwise conducting any business with assets, EY wrote.

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