Platypus Finance hackers cleared of criminal charges: Le Monde
The men responsible for the $8.5 million hack in February 2023 of Platypus Finance, an Automated Market Maker (AMM) protocol on Avalanche AVAX -2.25% , have been cleared of criminal charges by a French court, according to a report in Le Monde.
The defendants, who Le Monde identifies as brothers Mohammed and Benamar M., were arrested just one week after the hack, after information from crypto sleuth ZachXBT and Binance helped lead French authorities to the brothers.
French authorities charged the 22-year-old Mohammed with several counts related to the attack, according to Le Monde, while his brother was charged with receiving stolen goods. Prosecutors sought a five-year prison sentence for Mohammed, according to Le Monde.
However, the defendants were acquitted after Mohammed argued that he was an “ethical hacker,” acquiring the funds so that he could return them to the protocol later, hoping to receive a bonus of 10% of the total sum.
In the course of the flash loan attack, Mohammed mistakenly locked away millions of dollars of stolen funds and was only able to recover around $270,000. Platypus was able to salvage $2.4 million in USDC through a counter-hack as well.
The judges in the tribunal found that, since Mohammed was accessing a publicly available smart contract, the charges related to unauthorized access of a computer system did not apply. Furthermore, the court found that Mohammed’s use of Platypus’s “emergency withdrawal” smart contract, the one which had the vulnerability he was able to exploit, did not constitute fraud.
As the fraud charges could not apply, the judges in the tribunal also dropped the charges related to money laundering and receiving stolen goods, according to Le Monde. However, the judges also reportedly reminded the brothers that Platypus could still pursue them in civil court, and said that although the criminal charges couldn’t hold up, the decision was not “a carte blanche.”