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Ontario’s Crypto King still jet-setting to U.K., Miami, and soon Australia despite bankruptcy

“I’ll just pay everything in cash at the end.”

That’s what Ontario’s self-proclaimed Crypto King Aiden Pleterski told a waitress at a Top Golf driving range in Miami earlier this month.

The interaction was part of a two-hour live stream Pleterski posted online. It’s just one of several lengthy livestreams the bankrupt 25-year-old has run during international trips to the U.K., Miami and Los Angeles this fall.

A CBC Toronto review of those videos and his other social media posts found that Pleterski is travelling extensively — despite his ongoing bankruptcy proceeding — and plans to fly to Australia on another trip this weekend. The posts also show Pleterski driving a McLaren and a Lamborghini, offering to fly a woman from Sydney to Melbourne for a night while he’s in Australia, and attending a boxing match in Manchester.

WATCH | Aiden Pleterski streams international travel while bankrupt: 

ontarios crypto king still jet setting to u k miami and soon australia despite bankruptcy

Ontario’s Crypto King recently travelled to U.K., Los Angeles and Miami while bankrupt

9 hours ago

Duration 3:05

Featured VideoAiden Pleterski, 25, has posted videos of luxury cars and partying on international trips he’s taken in the last two months.

For more than a year now Pleterski’s investors have been trying to track down more than $40 million they gave him to invest in cryptocurrency and foreign exchange. A Toronto-based bankruptcy proceeding that’s being heard in Ontario Superior Court has recovered about $3 million for roughly 160 investors.

Bankruptcy proceedings are administered by a licensed insolvency trustee, a federally regulated professional, responsible for investigating the finances of a person or business that has gone bankrupt and administering their estate. 

In this case, the trustee is Rob Stelzer from Grant Thornton, an accounting firm. Stelzer’s investigation found that Pleterski only invested about two per cent of investor funds while spending nearly $16 million on himself — renting private jets, going on vacations, adding luxury cars to his collection and leasing to a lakefront mansion prior to his bankruptcy.

Now Pleterski’s recent travels are raising questions about how the Crypto King continues to fund his lifestyle while actively bankrupt — and what the bankruptcy proceeding can and can’t do to investigate, and potentially prevent, his travel spending.

“He has access to funds,” said Norman Groot, a fraud-recovery lawyer in Toronto.  

“It would seem that Mr. Pleterski is not deterred by anything that has gone on litigation-wise in the bankruptcy to continue on his reckless type of spending,” he said.

Pleterski’s lawyer, Micheal Simaan, did not respond to requests for comment about how his client is paying for his recent trips and lifestyle.

Bankruptcy trustee aware of travel

In an email, a spokesperson for Grant Thornton told CBC Toronto the trustee is aware of Pleterski’s travels posts.

“Although there is no prohibition regarding the travel of a bankrupt, the nature and amount of travelling has been lavish,” said spokesperson Lindsay Barnes.  

“The Trustee believes that this conduct should be taken into account by the Courts when considering any request Pleterski may make to be discharged from bankruptcy.”

Man taking a selfie in an airplane on the left and two men eating a steak dinner of the right.
It’s unclear how Aiden Pleterski is funding his recent travels, although in his videos he said as a streamer he’s ‘unemployed with income.’ (aiden.ptrs/Instagram)

The email also said there is no mechanism for a trustee to seize the passport of a bankrupt under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, but a trustee can make recommendations to the court in a bankruptcy.

“The Trustee did make two separate recommendations to the Court that Pleterski be incarcerated for failing to fully comply with his duties as a bankrupt but the Court did not grant the Trustee’s requests at that time,” said Barnes.

Overall, the trustee is confident it has accounted for Pleterski’s major spending from his bank accounts, Barnes said. But she said several investors told the trustee they paid Pleterski in cash, so it’s unclear whether all of that was deposited.

The trustee encourages anyone with information “on potentially hidden assets” to contact them, Barnes added.

Pleterski says he’s ‘unemployed with income’

In his videos, Pleterski represents himself as a professional streamer. When a viewer commented during a livestream that Pleterski was “jobless,” he replied in the video by saying “internet money gang, internet money.”

“We’re unemployed with income. That’s what I told the bank alright? Because technically that’s what a streamer is, a streamer’s unemployed with income.”

In the last month, Pleterski’s streams have included him attending a Halloween party in Los Angeles, going to a driving range, and a five-hour stream of him building a Lego Titanic in which he claims to have spent roughly $150,000 on Lego since 2021.

Man in baseball hat sitting behind table building a Lego Titanic.
In a five-hour online livestream of himself building the Titanic out of Lego, Aiden Pleterski said he’s spent $150,000 on Lego since 2021. (aidenptrs/Kick.com)

In one of those livestreams, Pleterski tells viewers, “I don’t travel a crazy amount, you guys think I do, but literally it’s for content.” 

Based on his social media posts, Pleterski was in the U.K. in October. While there, he went to a boxing event in Manchester featuring two YouTubers on Oct. 14 and also visited London where he streamed a boat tour on the River Thames. 

By Halloween, Pleterski was in Los Angeles, where he attended several parties and posted photos and videos of himself driving luxury cars like a Lamborghini and a McLaren. 

Then earlier this month, Pleterski moved on to Miami.

“I’m out here chilling for another couple weeks,” he said in a stream from mid-November.

“Just making connections out here again and reconnecting with old homies out here. You know, just living a little bit.”

Crypto King flying to Australia 

Pleterski’s posts show he plans to return to Los Angeles this week before flying to Australia on Dec. 2.  

“Going to Australia when everybody goes down in early December,” he said in that same stream. “I’m really excited for that, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

In Groot’s years of civil-fraud recovery work, he said he’s never seen a person carry on spending to this extreme while subject to litigation.

The Toronto lawyer is working on two “spin off” civil cases involving men connected to Pleterski. 

A man stands in front of a wall with the name of his law firm written on it.
Norman Groot, a Toronto fraud-recovery lawyer, says Pleterski’s recent travels tell him the 25-year-old still has access to funds despite his bankruptcy proceeding. (Paul Borkwood/CBC)

CBC Toronto previously reported on one of those men, Colin Murphy, who raised money for Pleterski’s investment operation. Murphy was found in contempt of court by an Ontario Superior Court judge in Oshawa, Ont., in January for refusing to surrender his iPhone and for deleting data on it. 

In those civil cases, Groot applied for, and was granted, court orders to seize the passports of Murphy and another man. 

Groot believes a similar court order would be helpful in Pleterski’s bankruptcy.

“In these types of fraud schemes the asset preservation orders need to be enforced meticulously and actively,” he said. 

“Otherwise this sort of dissipation just keeps going on and there’s really no hope, and no purpose, in what you’re doing.”

But unlike civil cases, where Groot is often representing the interests of a single client who decides how much they want to spend on their case, a bankruptcy proceeding has to take into account the best interest of all creditors. And in Pleterski’s case, that’s about 160 investors. 

Weighing the cost of investigating

Generally speaking, a licensed insolvency trustee who is not involved in this case told CBC Toronto a trustee’s work administering a bankruptcy, and investigating the bankrupt’s finances, is funded through what the proceeding is able to recover for creditors.

As a result, Wes Cowan, from MNP accounting firm, said trustees like himself work with inspectors (a small group of creditors who are elected to represent the interests of all creditors) in a bankruptcy to determine what actions are worthwhile and cost effective.

“It’s a judgment call, and that’s usually made between the trustee and the creditors involved as to how far they want us to go in terms of those investigations,” said Cowan.

“Obviously the more time we put in, the more it costs.”

Man ready to take golf swing at the tee of a driving range.
During a livestream at a Top Golf driving range in Miami, Aiden Pleterski told a waitress he would ‘pay everything in cash at the end.’ (aidenptrs/Kick.com)

Pleterski’s bankruptcy proceeding has been active for more than a year. In the latest report from October, the trustee wrote that the administration of Pleterski’s estate was “substantially complete with the exception of a small number of unresolved litigation matters.”

A discharge hearing is expected to take place in the next couple of months. If Pleterski is discharged without conditions, he would be released from all obligations to repay his bankruptcy debts.

The trustee has opposed an automatic discharge in Pleterski’s case and submitted in a report that the court may want to add conditions, or find that certain of his debts aren’t dischargeable, “given Pleterski’s conduct.” 

In the meantime, Pleterski continues to stream his travels online, but remains fairly tight-lipped about the state of his finances.

“How much I got in my bank account?” Pleterski said in a video. 

“A dollar seventy-seven — aka, it’s none of your business.”


If you have information to share about this story, or another tip to investigate, you can contact Nicole Brockbank at nicole.brockbank@cbc.ca

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