Digital wallets containing millions of dollars' worth of cryptocurrency were emptied months before the death of the coin exchange's founder, an investigation has revealed.
Following the sudden death of its founder Gerry Cotten, cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX said it was unable to access CA$190ms ($145m) in digital assets such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether and other digital tokens held for its customers.
However, an investigation by Ernst & Young has found the wallets, which contained the holdings of 115,000 customers, had been emptied months before Cotten's death.
E&Y is now trying to gather information about the trading done via these other accounts to see if it can trace how much crypto-cash passed through them.
Using public blockchain records, the team found all bitcoin had been transferred out of five identified wallets by April 2018, which was also the last time deposits were made. A sixth wallet appears to have been used to receive bitcoin from another crypto exchange account, which was transferred into another Quadriga wallet, the report noted.
The final transaction was initiated on 3 December 2018, six days before Cotten's reported death from complications linked to Chron's disease, iNews reports.
Apart from the seemingly abandoned crypto wallets, the auditing firm also discovered 14 user accounts that were seemingly created outside the normal practices of account creation by QuadrigaCX. These identified accounts were also created under various aliases.
A reward of $100,000 has been offered for information about where the exchange's cash has gone.
Quadriga is Canada's largest cryptocurrency exchange and Cotten held "sole responsibility for handling the funds and coins," his widow, Jennifer Robertson, said last month.
The widow spent $225,000 to help the shuttered cryptocurrency exchange secure court-approved protection from creditors, keeping clients owed millions at bay. Now, she is looking to be repaid.