CDPQ investment: Celsius clients at the end of their tether testify

Celsius Network acted as a bank in the crypto world. Clients could deposit their cryptoassets there and earn an annual return of up to almost 19%. They could also obtain cryptocurrency or cash loans by placing their cryptoassets with Celsius as collateral.

The Caisse de depot et placement du Québec (CDPQ) announced that it was participating in a financing round of US$400 million with Celsius last October. A Radio-Canada investigation had determined that the Caisse’s participation amounted to 150 million US dollars.

Celsius suddenly froze withdrawals from its platform on June 12. Since that date, customers can no longer withdraw their cryptoassets from the platform. On June 13, Celsius announced that it was filing for bankruptcy protection in New York State.

Letters addressed to Judge Glenn come from all over the world, from Finland, via India, Australia, Belgium and South Korea. Radio-Canada could not find testimonials from Canadian customers, but some customers do not specify where they live.

These customers believe today that they have lost everything and are imploring the judge to allow them to recover their funds.

I am 50 years old and work in the health field. I don’t have a lot of savings compared to others, but it’s a considerable amount for me and my familywrites a woman who claims to have invested the equivalent of US$19,000 in crypto at Celsius.

I’m frustrated, I can’t sleep, my husband doesn’t know what happened. Please do us justiceshe continues.

A client living in India claims to have placed some US$14,000 in cryptoassets with Celsius. This amount is enormous for an Indian. The average Indian earns US$5000 per yearhe said.

I have been very stressed and suicidal since Celsius blocked withdrawals. I am the only breadwinner in my familyhe continues.

An Australian customer claims she placed funds with Celsius while she was expecting the arrival of a new baby.

I was planning to withdraw my funds from Celsius to help pay for my childbirth and an operation for my aunt at the end of June, but since [Celsius] paused withdrawals, I no longer have access to my money and my life has become miserable. I worry that my stress, caused by the situation at Celsius, will affect my baby’s health.

In her letter to Judge Glenn, the customer included a screenshot of an email she sent to Celsius customer service on June 15, pleading with the company to make an exception and let her withdraw her claims. funds.

In an attempt to convince the agent, she had included a photo of an ultrasound of her baby.

Another US client, who had invested the equivalent of US$40,000 to US$50,000 in crypto at Celsius, says he learned that his funds had been frozen while he was at the gym.

I collapsed to the ground, my head in my hands, as I fought back tears. I did my best to go to work and see my colleagues that day. It was impossible for me to concentrate on my work. It was like living a nightmare. However, it was nowhere near as bad as when I returned home and had to face my family.he writes.

Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky during a YouTube broadcast on May 22, 2022.

Photo: Screenshot – YouTube / Celsius Network

A controversial investment

In October 2021, Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky claimed that the investment in which the Caisse participated had given the company’s credibility a boost.

[Ce qui est important]it’s not the $400 million, it’s the credibility that comes with the people who signed the checkshe said at the time.

A few months later, he said in a podcast that the due diligence [vérification préalable] of the CDPQ is what other people rely on to decide if Celsius is a company they can trust.

This is the case of a client who sent a letter to Judge Glenn, who claims to have placed all of his savings with Celsius after noting the reputation of the company’s business partners.

When I saw companies [qui ont des équipes affectées à la due diligence] investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Celsius, I started putting most of my cryptoassets on the platformhe writes, before confessing to be ashamed for recommending Celsius to friends and family.

The Caisse had remained relatively silent about Celsius’s setbacks since May. However, the head of media relations for the CDPQ, Maxime Chagnon, sent a statement to Radio-Canada on Wednesday morning.

The process Celsius is engaged in is complex and will take some time to unravel. As always, our first concern is to protect the interests of our depositors, Quebecers. Our teams are making every effort to preserve our rights, taking into account the ongoing legal process.indicated Mr. Chagnon, acknowledging that the investment of the caisse raises several questions.

He added that some of our investments, such as the one in Celsius, are not yielding the expected results.

Joined Friday afternoon to comment on customer testimonials filed in court this week, the Caisse did not respond to our requests.

Celsius did not respond to our questions.