5th person charged in Toronto kidnapping of ‘Crypto King’

Toronto police have charged a fifth person allegedly involved in the violent December 2022 kidnapping of Aiden Pleterski, the self-proclaimed Crypto King.

Last week, police said officers were notified of a missing person in the city’s downtown core on Dec. 5, 2022.

It’s alleged that the victim was lured into a vehicle by the suspects, and once inside the vehicle, two suspects pointed firearms at them. Local authorities did not provide a precise location of where the kidnapping occurred.

Toronto police have not released the victim’s name, but court documents obtained by the New York Times show that Pleterski, 24, was kidnapped on Dec. 5.

Police said the victim was held captive for three days and taken to various locations where they were repeatedly assaulted.

The suspects later released the victim in downtown Toronto and demanded a large amount of Canadian currency. Police said the victim’s life and family were threatened.

Investigators arrested four people in July 2023. A loaded handgun was recovered on one of the suspects when they were taken into custody.

Police identified those suspects as 24-year-old Deren Akyeam-Pong of Toronto, 24-year-old Rakeem Henry of London, Ont., 39-year-old Akil Heywood of Toronto, and 37-year-old Tyler Fast of Toronto.

On Friday, investigators announced the arrest of a fifth person, identified as 22-year-old Alfredo Paladino of Hamilton.

Paladino faces up to 13 charges, including kidnapping, kidnapping for ransom, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, pointing a firearm, forcible confinement, discharge of a firearm being reckless as to the life or safety of another person and aggravated assault, among other offences.

He’s also facing five counts of uttering threats/death or bodily harm.

Heywood reportedly invested over $700K with Crypto King

According to the New York Times (NYT), Heywood, one of the men allegedly behind the Crypto King’s kidnapping, had filed a claim for losing $740,000 that he had invested with Pleterski towards cryptocurrency and foreign exchange positions.

Heywood is listed as the Chairman and CEO of Atlantic Mas in Toronto. He’s since been released on bail.

Akil Heywood is shown in this photo uploaded to Facebook. Image: Akil Heywood/Facebook.

It’s unclear if the other men involved in the alleged kidnapping invested with Pleterski, who ran AP Private Equity Limited as an investment business.

According to court documents obtained by the NYT, Pleterski raised close to $41.5 million from investors but invested only 1.6 per cent of that money. It’s believed that the Crypto King instead used the funds to purchase luxury vehicles, including three McLarens, two Lamborghinis, three Audis and two BMWs.

That lifestyle forced Pleterski to file for bankruptcy in Nov. 2022, court documents showed. Pleterski’s lawyer, Micheal Simaan, declined comment when reached by CityNews.

No charges related to Pleterski’s kidnapping have been proven in court.

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