Celsius bankruptcy judge gives the nod for independent examiner probe

Following a motion in August, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn has signed off on a request to appoint an examiner in the Celsius case.

A federal judge overseeing crypto lender Celsius’ bankruptcy case has given the green light for the motion to appoint an independent examiner to investigate aspects of Celsius’ business.

In an order dated Sept. 14 from the United States Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York, the order notes the examiner’s investigation will look into Celsius’ digital assets, tax payment procedures, and the current status of its mining business following calls for greater transparency. 

The examiner will also look into why there was a change in account offerings in April, resulting in some customers being moved from the Earn Program to Custody Services while others were moved to a “Withhold Account.”

The U.S. Trustee had previously referred to a lack of transparency around these accounts, with customers unaware of who holds what account and why. This may be important given Celsius had asked the court to return assets to “custody clients,” but not its “earn-and-borrow” clients.

A motion to appoint an examiner originally came from an Aug. 18 filing from the United States Trustee handling Celsius’ bankruptcy proceedings, citing “significant transparency issues” surrounding Celsius’ business operations.

However, BnkToTheFuture CEO Simon Dixon said the scope of the examiner’s investigation was pared down since the motion was initially filed so that Celsius doesn’t run out of money.

He also noted that Celsius Network CEO Alex Mahinsky would need to provide information on his withdrawals from the platform before the freeze.

CELSIUS HEARING LIVE; @CelsiusUcc legal council going over the examiner motion & reducing the scope so that @CelsiusNetwork doesn’t run out of money. They said @Mashinsky to provide information on his withdrawals from the platform before the freeze.

— Simon Dixon (Beware Impersonators) (@SimonDixonTwitt) September 14, 2022

The latest order also outlined that the scope of the investigation could be expanded if deemed necessary, but would require consultation with Celsius and the official committee of unsecured creditors.

Celsius will be required to produce all documents the examiner “reasonably deems relevant to perform the Investigation, though Celsius will have grounds to reject a request, which would then be decided by the courts. 

Related: Celsius CEO plans to restructure firm to focus on crypto custody: Report

Once the identity of the examiner has been approved, they will have seven business days to produce a work plan and budget.

The court will then have seven days to approve these, after which the examiner will have 60 days to complete their investigation.

Celsius filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and froze withdrawals in July. Since then some depositors have been told their funds will be released, but most are still unable to access their assets with no guarantee they will ever receive them.

It seems as though the Examiner will be very busy once they are appointed, with Dixon also tweeting that the U.S. Trustee already has forty parties ready to be interviewed.

CELSIUS HEARING LIVE; @CelsiusUcc legal council opposed to Trustee takeover as they think it may lead to liquidation which is undesirable. Examiner preferred. US Trustee has 40 parties ready to interview for examiners next week.

— Simon Dixon (Beware Impersonators) (@SimonDixonTwitt) September 14, 2022

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