Aiden Pleterski: From 'Crypto King' to Bankruptcy and Hostage
By Kateryna Salnichenko 154 24 May 2023
Investors who trusted promising Canadian investor Aidan Pleterski often referred to him as "the young Bill Gates." Many believed that he would surely succeed in cryptocurrency trading and entrusted him with their funds.
It turns out the Canadian "crypto king" was more interested in living the life of the rich and famous than in making sound investments. His collection of elite cars, private jet escapades, and lavish vacations were far from modest - the guy was living his best life, until one of his investors realized they were funding his delusions of grandeur, not his supposed "revolutionary" crypto trading strategies.
At present, Pleterski is officially declared bankrupt and is facing charges of fraudulent misrepresentation, embezzlement, and even domestic violence. The recent news of the unfortunate businessman being kidnapped, tortured, and held for ransom has shaken the public, but the more we learn about Pleterski's life, the more it seems like a dark tale.
Who is Aiden Pleterski?
Aiden Pleterski, the 24-year-old Canadian wunderkind of trading and cryptocurrency, became the talk of the town for his unorthodox investment prowess. He started trading in high school, and by 2021, he founded AP Private Equity Limited, turning from a trader into the captain of a promising startup that people were happy to jump on board with.
Aiden's company promised investors a steady return of 5-7% weekly, regardless of the market conditions. As a result, the capital growth was projected to be between 10-20% every two weeks. The profits obtained were to be split between Pletrsky and the investors, with a 70:30 ratio. The proposal lured in over 150 investors, who brought the Canadian trader approximately $20 million between 2021-2022.
According to the bankruptcy trustee overseeing Pletrsky and AP Private Equity Limited's bankruptcy proceedings, the victims of the scam lost varying amounts of money, invested in fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies. The stories of some creditors are heart-wrenching, with many of them having lost their life savings, which were intended for different purposes. For instance, 65-year-old Diane Moore invested $60,000 CAD in the fraudulent scheme, which she had been saving for her grandchildren's education.
A thriving business or Ponzi scheme?
Had it not been for Toronto estate agent Sasha Singh, Pleterski's alleged "business" might have flourished. Between April 2021 and January 2022, Singh invested around 4.5 million CAD in AP Private Equity Limited. During their partnership, Singh was supposed to receive returns of up to 33 million CAD and sought a guarantee for the recovery of his earnings.
Despite the terms of investment that allowed for profits to be withdrawn at any time and received within three business days, Singh encountered the opposite situation. According to court documents, he made three withdrawal requests in February 2022 for 1 million, 300,000, and 3.5 million CAD. Pleterski responded with a refusal, citing issues with asset withdrawal.
Later on, Singh received screenshots of Pleterski's and his company's accounts, which allegedly held 311 million and 1.4 million CAD, respectively. However, it was discovered that the images were fraudulent, and neither Eden's nor the startup's accounts had ever been registered in the specified company.
Singh made several attempts to meet with Pleterski for lunch, but the latter repeatedly postponed their meetings and only promised to pay 50,000 CAD as a guarantee for the return of Singh's investment. However, when Sasha only received 10,000 CAD and found out that Pleterski was selling his luxury cars and moving his safe from storage, he decided to take legal action. In July 2022, Singh filed a lawsuit against Pleterski and successfully obtained an order to freeze his accounts.
On August 9, 2022, at the request of several investors, the court declared AP and its founder bankrupt, and Grant Thornton Limited was appointed as the bankruptcy trustee. Pleterski stands accused of fraud involving both cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies, as well as organizing fraudulent schemes on social networks, in addition to allegations of domestic violence.
Upon the commencement of the bankruptcy proceedings, several intriguing nuances were revealed, which do not bode well for the self-proclaimed "crypto-king":
- Pleterski's actual investment of the funds received from his victims amounted to a mere 2%. The remainder was spent on indulgences such as luxury cars, including Lamborghini, McLaren, and BMW, for his parents, private planes, travel, and other trappings of an opulent lifestyle;
- The probability is high that the positive appraisals of Pleterski and his firm, which were featured in relatively unknown online media outlets, were bought and paid for;
- At a virtual meeting with investors, Pleterski stated that the funds he had received were lost irreversibly due to margin requirements and unfavorable trades. When asked why he continued to accept funds from investors despite this, Pleterski referred to himself as a 20-year-old child, seemingly attempting to absolve himself of responsibility for the situation;
- Trust was the foundation of the relationship between investors and the "crypto king." According to Pleterski, contracts were signed via text messages. The company did not keep proper accounting records because Pleterski was "very disorganized." The movement of funds was not monitored by anyone, and there were no records of payments or debts;
- The assets that were seized from Pleterski following his bankruptcy, valued at $2.2 million, are inadequate to cover the amount owed to all of the investors who were affected by his actions;
- Besides the charges of fraud, Pleterski is facing allegations of domestic violence. According to his ex-girlfriend, a disagreement over Instagram content resulted in Pleterski grabbing her hand, shouting, pushing her away from the front door, and preventing her from leaving. Although she initially reported the incident, she later chose not to pursue charges.
Was it truly a kidnapping?
Following the disclosure of court documents in March 2023, fresh enigmatic details surfaced in the case of Pleterski. It came to light that in December 2022, the self-styled "crypto king" was abducted in the heart of Toronto. His kidnappers purportedly held him captive for approximately three days, subjecting him to interrogation, and pressing for a hefty ransom of $3 million.
More detailed information regarding the incident was only privy to Pleterski's father, whom the kidnappers had forbidden any contact with. Curiously, the kidnappers allowed Pleterski to call his landlord instead. However, the man declined to offer any financial assistance, though he did assist the police in their investigation.
A few days after Pleterski's abduction, the perpetrators released him near his landlord's residence, but to this day, the incident remains shrouded in mystery. The Toronto police have yet to provide any further details about the kidnappers or suspects, leaving the public in the dark about the status of potential arrests.