Julio 21, 2018

Russian Accused Of Laundering $4 Billion Of Bitcoin Arrested

28 Julio 2017, 04:46 | Faron Santos

Illustration by Alex Castro The Verge

Illustration by Alex Castro  The Verge

"Through Vinnik's efforts, BTC-e emerged as one of the principal means by which cyber criminals around the world laundered the proceeds of their illicit activity", the DoJ wrote.

A Russian man was indicted by a US jury on Wednesday on charges of laundering more than $4 billion through a Bitcoin exchange, Reuters reported.

Police in Greece have arrested a Russian national they accuse of running the BTC-e Bitcoin exchange to launder more than US$4bn worth of the cryptocurrency.

Amidst unheard cries of "where's my money!?", it's safe to say that the BTC-e "unplanned maintenance" is looking to stretch out longer than the estimated 5-10 days.

According to United States officials, over $4 billion has been laundered through the site since it opened in 2011. This bitcoin platform is believed to be BTC-e as it began operating around the same time as Vinnik's criminal organization is said to have emerged. If convicted, Vinnik is eligible for up to 55 years in prison which would likely be the remainder of his lifetime.

The actions taken against the BTC-e by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network have taken the exchange down. FinCEN said that it has also identified at least $3 million of facilitated transactions tied to ransomware attacks such as "Cryptolocker" (at least $800,000) and "Locky" (over 6,500 bitcoin). Until recently, all that was known about its ownership was from a 2013 Coindesk article stating that the exchange was run by "Russian programmers Aleksey and Alexander".

"Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin provide people around the world new and innovative ways of engaging in legitimate commerce".

BTC-e itself has also been indicted for failing to have in place anti-money laundering measures as required by federal law, despite doing a significant amount of business in the US. Further, BTC-e shared customers and conducted transactions with the now-defunct money laundering website Liberty Reserve.

U.S. Department of Justice indictment against Alexander Vinnik.

WizSecurity, the original source referred by Kyle Torpey, bitcoin analyst Tuur Demeester and Coindesk, has stated that it is planning on delivering an announcement in regard to the link between BTC-E and Mt. Gox. Vinnick along with "others" controlled the Vamnedam account and funneled funds into Bitstamp. The identity of the exchange's operators was kept secret, even as other large Bitcoin exchanges tried to make their businesses more transparent and friendly to regulators.

But, in announcing the unsealed indictment, government officials issued stark warnings to digital currency exchanges. USA authorities have requested his extradition. A recent report suggests that upwards of 300,000 BTC ended up on BTC-e, though other coins were deposited to other exchanges. Following reports of the US Presidential Elections of 2016 having been massively influenced by Russian hackers, the US Justice Department has been working on tightening their noose around these cyber criminals, especially of a Russian origin.

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