Tag Archives: Exclusive

Exclusive: Australian police raid Sydney house of reported bitcoin creator

SYDNEY Australian Federal Police raided the Sydney home on Wednesday of a man named by Wired magazine as the probable creator of cryptocurrency bitcoin, a Reuters witness said.

The property is registered under the Australian electoral role to Craig Steven Wright, whom Wired outed as the likely real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous figure that first released bitcoin’s code in 2009.

More than a dozen federal police officers entered the house, on Sydney’s north shore, on Wednesday after locksmiths broke open the door. When asked what they were doing, one officer told a Reuters reporter that they were “clearing the house”.

The Australian Federal Police said in a statement that the officers’ “presence at Mr. Wright’s property is not associated with the media reporting overnight about bitcoins”.

The AFP referred all inquiries about the raid to the Australian Tax Office, which did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The police raid in Australia came hours after Wired magazine and technology website Gizmodo published articles saying that their investigations showed Wright, who they said was an Australian academic, was probably the secretive bitcoin creator.

Their investigations were based on leaked emails, documents and web archives, including what was said to be a transcript of a meeting between Wright and Australian tax officials.

The identity of Satoshi Nakamoto has long been a mystery journalists and bitcoin enthusiasts have tried to unravel.

He, she or a group of people is the author of the paper, protocol and software that gave rise to the cryptocurrency. The New York Times, Newsweek and other publications have guessed at Nakamoto’s real identity, but none has proved conclusive.

Uncovering the identity would be significant, not just to solving a long-standing riddle, but for the future of the currency.

And as an early miner of bitcoins, Nakamoto is also sitting on about 1 million bitcoins, worth more than $ 400 million at present exchange rates, according to bitcoin expert Sergio Demian Lerner.

(Reporting By Byron Kaye; Additional reporting by Colin Packham and Jeremy Wagstaff; Writing by Jane Wardell; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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Exclusive: Burkina charges former coup leader over murder of Sankara

OUAGADOUGOU Authorities in Burkina Faso have charged a general who led a failed coup in September with complicity in the 1987 assassination of President Thomas Sankara, senior security sources told Reuters.

Sankara’s murder is one of the most high-profile killings in Africa’s post-independence history and the charge against General Gilbert Diendere appears to represent a breakthrough in a case that has haunted the West African country for decades.

It follows a pledge by the transitional government to investigate the murder and a decision in May to exhume the remains of a body believed to be Sankara’s, which was buried at a cemetery on the outskirts of the capital Ouagadougou.

“General Gilbert Diendere is formally charged in the Thomas Sankara case,” said a senior security source with direct knowledge of the case. Diendere was charged last month with complicity in assassination and attack, the source said.

Diendere’s lawyer, Mathieu Some, told Reuters on Sunday his client had been charged over Sankara’s death and he would prepare his legal defense. The charges are yet to be made public.

Ten others, less senior than Diendere, have already been charged. The senior security official said most were soldiers in the elite presidential guard of former President Blaise Compaore, who was ousted in October 2014.

Diendere was Compaore’s intelligence chief and right-hand man. In September, he led the presidential guard in a short-lived coup in which soldiers took transitional President Michel Kafando and the prime minister hostage.

The coup failed and in its aftermath, the presidential guard was disbanded and Diendere sought refuge at the Vatican embassy. He was then arrested and charged with murder and threatening state security. He is still in detention.

“AFRICA’S CHE GUEVARA”

Sankara took power in a coup in 1983 and pursued a philosophy of Marxism and pan-Africanism that led him to be called “Africa’s Che Guevara”.

Many African intellectuals view him as a visionary on a par with Congo’s first prime minister Patrice Lumumba, who was murdered in 1961, or South African anti-apartheid leader Steve Biko, who was killed in 1977.

He nationalized land and mineral wealth, moved to improve health and education, pressed for debt reduction, promoted women into leadership and changed the country’s name from Upper Volta. The changes made an impact on Burkina Faso, a landlocked country that produces gold and cotton but remains impoverished.

Sankara was known for his trademark red beret and rejection of the lavish lifestyle typical of African leaders. In October 1987, he was murdered in a coup that brought Compaore to power.

Compaore reversed many of Sankara’s policies and established a reputation as one of the region’s most powerful men but mystery surrounding the killing dogged him, not least because attempts to mount a judicial investigation during his tenure stalled.

Compaore was toppled by protesters who opposed his bid to change the constitution so that he could extend his rule.

The charges against Diendere come at a critical moment for Burkina Faso as it makes a democratic transition that is seen as an example for other African states.

Voters elected former Prime Minister Roch Marc Kabore as president a week ago and when sworn in he will be the country’s first new leader in decades.

Kabore was an ally of Compaore who went into opposition in early 2014. The election was key for a nation ruled by leaders who came to power in coups for most of its history since independence from France in 1960.

(Additional reporting by Joe Penney; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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Exclusive: U.S. puts request for bigger Turkish air part on hold

WASHINGTON Considering that Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet last week, the United States has quietly put on hold a lengthy-standing request for its NATO ally to play a a lot more active role in the U.S.-led air war against Islamic State.

The move, disclosed to Reuters by a U.S. official, is aimed at permitting just adequate time for heightened Turkey-Russia tensions to ease. Turkey has not flown any coalition air missions in Syria against Islamic State since the Nov. 24 incident, two U.S. officials mentioned.

The pause is the newest complication over Turkey’s function to have tested the patience of U.S. war planners, who want a a lot more assertive Turkish contribution — specifically in securing a section of border with Syria that is noticed as a essential provide route for Islamic State.

As Britain begins strikes in Syria and France ramps up its part in the wake of last month’s attacks on Paris by the extremist group, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter publicly appealed this week for a higher Turkish military role.

The best U.S. priority is for Turkey to safe its southern border with Syria, the first official stated. U.S. concern is focused on a roughly 60-mile (98-km) stretch used by Islamic State to shuttle foreign fighters and illicit trade back and forth.

But the United States also desires to see far more Turkish air strikes devoted to Islamic State, even as Washington firmly supports Ankara’s strikes against Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers Celebration (PKK), viewed by each countries as a terrorist group.

Carter told a congressional hearing this week that most Turkish air operations have been targeted at the PKK rather than at Islamic State, but U.S. officials acknowledge some promising signs from Turkey, like moves to secure key border crossings.

For example, Turkish F-16 fighter jets last month joined an air operation to assistance Syrian rebels taking back two villages from Islamic State along the so-known as Mara Line, a senior Obama administration official told reporters, speaking on situation of anonymity.

The United States does not give information on the quantity or sort of missions performed by Turkish air force flights in Syria.

Turkey rejects any suggestion it is not playing its component in the fight against ISIL.

  “We have taken part in at least half of the operations,” a senior Turkish official told Reuters. “Apart from that, Turkey takes portion in identifying targets and offering logistics and bases. We are in close cooperation with the U.S.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin branded Turkey’s shoot-down a war crime on Thursday and mentioned Turkey would face additional sanctions. Moscow has already banned some Turkish food imports as portion of a wider package of retaliatory sanctions.

The United States hopes that tensions among Moscow and Ankara will ease rapidly, permitting Turkey to take a more prominent role inside the U.S.-led coalition’s air campaign, the very first official mentioned.

The Pentagon declined to comment on the status of Turkish flights given that the shoot-down. Two Turkish officials declined to straight comment but stressed that Turkey remained portion of the air coalition.

“For us practically nothing has changed,” a senior Turkish official told Reuters.

U.S. officials stressed that overall coalition air operations had been unaffected by the tensions in between Turkey and Russia.

There is debate inside the Obama administration on how challenging to push Turkey. U.S. officials broadly acknowledge its assistance has been crucial to the U.S.-led campaign in Syria, permitting the coalition to stage strike missions out of a Turkish air base.

Turkey, for its component, has grown frustrated over the past handful of years at what it sees as indecision on the element of the United States and its Western allies, arguing that only Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s removal from energy can bring lasting peace.

(Extra reporting by Nick Tattersall in Istanbul and Jonathan Landay in Washington editing by Stuart Grudgings.)

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