Sindri Thor Stefansson, the alleged mastermind behind the “Big Bitcoin Heist” who fled a low-security Icelandic prison and hopped on a flight to Sweden last week, has been found.
But according to Stefansson, he never should have been detained in the first place and was being held based on “police suspicion.” He was reportedly arrested in Amsterdam amid an international arrest warrant with plans under way for his extradition to Iceland.
Stefansson was imprisoned for his alleged role in Iceland’s worst ever heist involving $2 million worth of bitcoin mining equipment. He believes that his rights were violated because he didn’t have a trial and the arrest warrant had expired when he escaped the Sogni prison. According to his version of the story, which Stefansson told to Icelandic publication Frettabladid.is, he was held “without evidence” and was “free to travel” after the judge’s ruling expired on April 16. He reportedly said –
“I would never try to flee prison if I was legally deprived of my freedom from [the] judge’s decision, that’s a fact.”
He further stated that he was dumped, punished and threatened with longer isolation, all “without proof.”
“I simply refuse to be in prison of my own will, especially when the police threatens to arrest me without explanation.”
Below is a screenshot of Stefansson fleeing Iceland, as published in Frettabladid.is. His plane ticket wasn’t in his own name but no border check was required.
Stefansson is arguing a lapse between the date of the order to hold him and the judge taking 24 hours to determine whether or not to hold the suspect. Stefansson, while he was awaiting the judge’s ruling, is said to have gone out to a restaurant and then booked the infamous flight to Sweden. Hours later, the judge reportedly ruled “on the continuation of detention,” the report says.
Stefansson says he feels shame for having escaped, but he was “angry” for being held in a prison for more than two months allegedly without any evidence of having orchestrated the heist. Since his escape, Stefansson says his family has been harassed by the media. Prior to his arrest in Amsterdam, Stefansson’s manifesto to Frettabladid.is said he wanted to come home to confront the situation.
Stefansson is accused of spearheading a group that allegedly stole cryptocurrency mining equipment over a period in December and January, which still hasn’t been recovered. The investigation may have shifted to Spain, where Stefansson reportedly purchased an apartment.
Featured image from Shutterstock.