Court approves $1.1 million in fees for accountants, lawyers in QuadrigaCX collapse

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A judge has approved more than $1.1 million in fees for lawyers and the accounting firm probing the controversial demise of the QuadrigaCX cryptocurrency exchange.

Justice Darlene Jamieson sanctioned Ernst and Young's bill for $778,444 in legal and other fees, saying the firm has been diligent as it investigated what she called the country's first insolvency proceeding involving cryptocurrency.

She said during the hearing Wednesday the case is challenging because QuadrigaCX ``lacked books and records'' and auditors are unable to speak to its owner, Gerald Cotten, whose wife has said he died from complications linked to Crohn's disease while travelling in India last December.

A monitor's report filed before the Nova Scotia Supreme Court lists 18 outside experts hired by the accounting company to help with the audits.

Fees for legal teams representing an estimated 76,319 unsecured users of the cryptocurrency exchange _ who have come forward to claim more than $214 million in cash and cryptocurrency _ also were approved at Wednesday's hearing.

A court report says representative lawyers have been paid a total of just over $380,000, with about $340,000 going to lawyers with Miller Thomson in Toronto and the remainder to locally based counsel at Cox and Palmer.