Huge crypto crime network shut down in ‘significant blow’ to fraudsters, DOJ announces
Cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato allegedly processed more than $700 million dollars’ worth of illicit funds.
The US Department of Justice has announced that it has dealt a “significant blow” to the crypto crime landscape after arresting a Russian national alleged to have founded a major criminal online platform.
Cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato processed more than $700 million dollars’ worth of illicit funds, according to the DOJ, advertising its services to users who were “known to be crooks”.
Alleged founder Anatoly Legkodymov was arrested in Miami on Tuesday.
“Overnight, the Department worked with key partners here and abroad to disrupt Bitzlato, the China-based money laundering engine that fueled a high-tech axis of cryptocrime, and to arrest its founder, Russian national Anatoly Legkodymov,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, who led Wednesday’s press conference.
“Today’s actions send the clear message: whether you break our laws from China or Europe – or abuse our financial system from a tropical island – you can expect to answer for your crimes inside a United States courtroom.”
FBI Assistant Deputy Director Brian Turner added: “The FBI will continue to pursue actors who attempt to mask their criminal activity behind keyboards and use means such as cryptocurrency to evade law enforcement.
“We, along with our federal and international partners, will work relentlessly to disrupt and dismantle these types of criminal enterprises. Today’s arrest should serve as a reminder the FBI will impose risk and consequences upon those who engage in these activities.”
The price of bitcoin dropped sharply in the build-up to the announcement as investors and traders feared the potential introduction of strict regulation, however has since seen a slight recovery.
The announcement comes amid ongoing legal action against beleaguered crypto exchange FTX and its founder Sam Bankman-Fried.