US arrests Russian crypto boss for ‘money laundering’:
US arrests Russian crypto boss who ‘catered to known crooks’
On Wednesday, US authorities detained the owner of the Chinese cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato for alleged money laundering, which was described as a “blow to the crypto crime ecosystem” globally.
Anatoly Legkodymov, 40, of Shenzhen, China, was detained in Miami.
According to a press conference held by the Department of Justice:
He was detained overnight and he was scheduled to appear in court the next day.
According to the department:
He was detained for his alleged role in the transmission of $700 million in illegal funds, pointing to criminals who were using the exchange as a safe haven for the sale of stolen financial data and the trade of illegal drugs.
According to court documents:
Legkodymov founded and owns a majority stake in the Hong Kong-registered company Bitzlato, which claims to require little to no user identification.
Hydra, a covert, illegal online market on the “darknet,” which was shut down by US and German authorities last year, served as Bitzlato’s primary trading partner.
Hydra used encryption to conceal the identities of those involved when selling illegal drugs, stolen credit card information, fake money, and identity documents.
According to US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco:
“The Department of Justice dealt a significant blow to the crypto crime ecosystem today.”
“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 crypto crime, and to arrest its founder, Russian national Anatoly Legkodymov.”
According to Monaco, today’s actions:
“send a clear message: you can expect to answer for your crimes inside a US courtroom, whether you break our laws from China or Europe, or abuse our financial system from a tropical island.”
In Addition, The Hydra marketplace had over 19,000 vendor accounts.
And approximately 17 million customer accounts when it was shut down in April 2022, according to German federal police.
The secret “darknet” includes websites that can only be accessed with specific software or authorizations, ensuring users’ anonymity.
Prosecutors said Bitzlato handled $4.58 billion in cryptocurrency transactions since May 3, 2018, though not all of them involved criminal activity.
Legkodymov is charged with “conducting an unlicensed money-transmitting business”.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic:
International law enforcement has increased its pressure on these networks.