Firm prison required in “first trial in France” in a cryptocurrency hacking case

The Paris prosecutor’s office on Thursday requested a prison sentence for a young man accused of stealing from the American finance platform Platypus in February, for damages equivalent to $9.5 million in cryptocurrencies.

The prosecutor requested five years of imprisonment – ​​the legal maximum – including three suspended, with a committal warrant, against Mohamed M., a 22-year-old from Ile-de-France and tried on Thursday for four offenses, including money laundering and fraud. She also requested that the younger brother of Mohamed M., tried for receiving stolen goods, receive six months’ imprisonment, fully suspended, and a fine of 20,000 euros.

“This is the first cryptocurrency hacking case tried in France,” underlined the prosecutor. “The fault that we can have is to think that virtual money takes away gravity… but your decision will set a precedent,” she insisted, addressing the judges of the 13th criminal chamber of the court of Paris, specializing in cybercrime.

He wanted to “alert” Platypus

The prosecution accuses Mohamed M. of having “siphoned off the liquidity pool of Platypus”, a decentralized finance platform, by relying on a system of flash loans and an “emergency withdrawal” function of are.

“I in no way penetrated the computers, touched the Platypus code” but “used public functions offered by Platypus”, argued Mohamed M., shaved head and short beard. He presented his action as his first as an “ethical hacker” wanting to “alert” Platypus of a “flaw” in the system.

To “alert” Platypus, he could have recovered a smaller sum, tackled the prosecutor. “In the event of an ethical hack, there is reimbursement,” added Me Fanny Le Magadure, who defends Platypus alongside Me Marie Robin.

Platypus estimates “its shortfall at more than 144,000 euros” and deplores a profound “reputational damage”, for which the platform is asking “one million euros” from the defendants. The “flaw” spotted by Mohamed M. is like “the open door of a bank”, considered Me Le Magadure. “If I go into the bank and get the money, it’s theft.”

Of the 9.5 million dollars, Mohamed M. only recovered 270,000 euros because of a code “error” to indicate the destination of the sums, he explained. He sent 13,000 euros to his younger brother, who rented, among other things, a “nice car”.

“There will be no imprisonment or fine,” vigorously urged Me Seydi Ba, who defends Mohamed M. “My client has a clean criminal record. We are on a loan which has not yet been repaid, but not on a criminal qualification.” Deliberated on December 1st.

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