HALIFAX — After three months of investigating, the accounting firm trying to recover more than $200 million in cash and cryptocurrency owed to users of the now-defunct QuadrigaCX trading platform has turned up only $28 million in assets — virtually all of it in cash.Ernst and Young, which is overseeing bankruptcy proceedings for the cryptocurrency exchange, has issued a trustee’s preliminary report saying it may not be possible to complete a full review of QuadrigaCX’s finances, mainly because of the company’s poor bookkeeping.As well, the report says the investigation has been hampered by some of QuadrigaCX’s unco-operative business partners and the sheer volume of the transactions it processed since it was founded in 2013 by Gerald Cotten of Fall River, N.S. Quadriga’s downfall began when founder abruptly fired all the exchange’s ‘law and order’ folks, former lawyer says A criminal past haunts surviving founder of troubled cryptocurrency exchange Quadriga Watchdogs proposing new framework for cryptocurrency exchanges on heels of Quadriga collapse “These transactions measure in the millions,” George Kinsman, a senior vice-president with Ernst and Young in Halifax, said in an interview.“At any given time in a restructuring, you have to do a cost-benefit analysis. If you’re going to have a team of forensic accountants spending a considerable amount of time (working) with no certainty that you’re going to have a recovery, people are going to have to think about whether that makes sense.”As of last month, QuadrigaCX and its associated companies owed creditors $215.7 million, says the report, written by Kinsman.A total of 76,319 unsecured creditors — virtually all of them QuadrigaCX clients — have come forward to claim they are owed $214.6 million, Kinsman’s report says.The accounting firm says it is making progress in retrieving funds from Quadriga’s payment processors and other exchanges, and it plans to file an investigation report within the next two months.The online exchange, which was once one of the largest in Canada, offered a platform for trading and storing digital assets like Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum.The cryptocurrency industry is not regulated in Canada, and there is no governing body providing industry oversight.By late 2018, QuadrigaCX had been having liquidity problems for almost a year, mainly because the accounts of one of its payment processors — holding $25.7 million — had been frozen by CIBC.The exchange was shut down in January 2019 amid a torrent of online speculation after Cotten died from complications of Crohn’s disease while travelling in India on Dec. 9.The entire enterprise was thrown into a tailspin when it was revealed the 30-year-old CEO was the only employee who knew the encrypted passwords to gain access to QuadrigaCX’s offline cryptocurrency reserves, stored in what are called cold wallets.At the time, Cotten’s widow, Jennifer Robertson, produced an affidavit in Nova Scotia Supreme Court saying about 115,000 QuadrigaCX users were owed $190 million in cryptocurrency and $70 million in cash.The company was granted court-ordered protection from its creditors on Feb. 5. The next day, Quadriga inadvertently transferred $460,000 in Bitcoins to one of its so-called cold wallets. Those digital assets remain off limits because no one knows the password.In early March, Ernst and Young said several cold wallets had been found, but all of them were empty. As well, the accounting firm said 14 user accounts had been created internally using a number of aliases. Some of them were used to trade cryptocurrency, drawing from deposits that “may have been artificially created,” the accounting firm said.Bankruptcy proceedings started on April 15 when it became clear the company would not survive a restructuring.In a report released last month, Ernst and Young said it had determined Cotten was mixing his personal and corporate finances, saying some Quadriga funds may have been used to buy assets held outside the business.The Nova Scotia Supreme Court later issued a so-called asset preservation order, which prevents Robertson from selling assets belonging to her or Cotten’s estate.Those assets, which include properties and businesses, are thought to be worth about $12 million, the latest report says. But they are not considered QuadrigaCX assets.Robertson is listed as a secured creditor who is owed $300,000.
The figures, in Freedom of Information disclosures, come amid efforts to negotiate a new contract for more than 40,000 consultants.Currently, consultants can refuse all but emergencies during evenings, nights and weekends – and charge a great deal for such shifts.NHS negotiators have drawn up proposed changes which would see this opt-out removed, with an extension of regular hours to cover more of the weekend. But three years after talks begun, no deal has been agreed.Union negotiators are understood to be satisfied with the proposed changes, but fearful of a backlash from members, after much anger when changes were proposed for junior doctors’ contracts. NHS Accident & Emergency departments are being run with no consultants present for more than 40 per cent of the time, an audit has found.At some units, the most senior person on duty is a junior doctor who finished medical school the previous year, the figures show.Others have relied on GPs to stand in for hospital consultants, the Daily Telegraph investigation reveals. Sometimes GPs have stood in at hospitalsCredit:Peter Byrne /PA Credit:Dominic Lipinski/PA The Telegraph asked hospitals about A&E staffingCredit:Chris Radburn /PA Figures from across the NHS show that the vast majority of A&E units are now regularly operating without a single consultant present.Every hospital trust in England was asked to provide details of the medical cover in their A&E departments from August 7 to 13. Of 119 hospitals – from 97 of England’s 154 acute trusts – six had a consultant present at all times.On average, consultants were present just 59 per cent of the time. Often this meant the most senior person left on duty was a junior doctor, undergoing specialist training. In some cases, trainee doctors little more than a year out of medical school were left in charge.At Salisbury District Hospital, in Wiltshire, four out of seven nights were run by a junior doctor entering their second year of foundation training. On the remaining nights, the most senior medic was a junior doctor in specialist training. Friarage Hospital in North Yorkshire and Pontefract Hospital each had no consultants working at the weekend. Huddersfield Hospital had no senior doctors working on the Sunday, while Ealing Hospital had a consultant present for three hours each day. Twelve hospitals managed less than seven hours on one or either weekend day. They were: Airedale General; Conquest Hospital, Hastings; Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital, Grimsby; Eastbourne District General; Furness General; George Eliot Hospital; Lister Hospital; Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead; Scunthorpe General; Torbay District General and William Harvey Hospital, in Kent. Salisbury NHS Foundation trust, which runs Salisbury District Hospital, said the junior doctor was supported by an on-call A&E consultant.A spokesman for Mid Yorks Hospitals trust said Pontefract Hospital had no A&E consultant on site, but that the junior doctor in charge could get support from a consultant at Pinderfields General Hospital.A spokesman for South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation trust, which runs Friarage Hospital, said an A&E consultant was available by telephone. Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS trust, which runs Huddersfield Hospital, said it could only provide seven-day cover if it centralised services on one site. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. At Pontefract Hospital, a GP was left in charge of A&E from midnight to 8am all week. The only hospitals shown to provide consultant cover throughout the period were Royal London Hospital, St George’s Hospital, in south London, Royal Sussex County Hospital, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, Northumbria Specialist Emergency Hospital and Salford Royal Hospital.At other hospitals, junior doctors were commonly left in charge for long periods, with senior A&E doctors “on call” by phone.The figures show a dramatic worsening in access to hospital consultants at weekends and evenings, even though the early hours of Saturdays and Sundays are busier than any other night, with the highest levels of attendances linked to assaults.Overall, 67 out of 119 units had fewer consultants present at the weekends than during the week. At 15 hospitals, a consultant was present for seven hours or less on weekend days. read more