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Investor takes legal action against city council over $194 million lost Bitcoin

In this post:

  • James Howells, a former IT professional, is preparing to sue Newport City Council for denying him the right to excavate a landfill where a hard drive containing 7,500 bitcoins ($194 million) is believed to be buried.
  • Howells’ legal team has set a deadline of September 18 for the council to grant excavation rights, and he is pushing for a judicial review of the council’s decision. He has also secured external investors and pledged to cover all costs.
  • The case has been ongoing for a decade and has seen multiple failed negotiations between Howells and the council.

A 38-year-old former IT professional, James Howells, is preparing for a legal battle against Newport City Council. The dispute revolves around a hard drive containing 7,500 bitcoins, valued at approximately $194 million, based on today’s exchange rate, which was accidentally discarded in a landfill in 2013. Howells has been in a decade-long disagreement with the council, even assembling a 16-person crew to assist in retrieving the hard drive.

A decade of failed negotiations

According to a report by the Telegraph, Howells has made multiple attempts to negotiate with the council, even offering 25% of the recovered bitcoin’s value as an incentive. All his proposals have been rejected. 

Recently, his legal team set a bold deadline for the council, demanding excavation rights by September 18. In a letter to the council, Howells expressed his determination to push for a judicial review concerning the denial of access to the landfill. He also pledged to bear all excavation expenses and contribute to the city’s community. External investors are reportedly backing Howells’ endeavor.

Howells told the Telegraph during an interview: “I’ve tried everything I can for 10 years; they didn’t want to play ball, so now we have to go down the legal route … It doesn’t matter what that item is, whether it is bitcoin, gold, diamonds, not even to have the conversation is idiotic.”

Expressing his frustration, he added:  “How would you feel if I was holding your property? Would you want it back? Would you try everything you could to get it back?”

The lost bitcoins were initially part of transactions between Howells and various parties back in the early days of the cryptocurrency. The hard drive was disposed of in a landfill during a routine clear-out after his ex-partner, Hafina, took a bag containing a hard drive to a south Wales dump. Howells had previously revealed plans to use X-ray and artificial intelligence tools to locate the device in collaboration with the landfill’s retired site manager.

Both parties appear to be gearing up for a protracted battle in this unfolding legal drama. With a fortune at stake and a deadline set, the case marks a significant chapter in cryptocurrency disputes.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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