TechDigits

Tech news
Monday, Feb 06, 2023

US arrests Russian founder of Hong Kong cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato

US arrests Russian founder of Hong Kong cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato

Anatoly Legkodymov, who lives in Shenzhen, China was arrested in Miami for allegedly using his business to process US$700 million in illicit funds.
US authorities said on Wednesday they have arrested the majority shareholder and co-founder of Hong Kong-registered virtual currency exchange Bitzlato Ltd for allegedly processing US$700 million in illicit funds.

Anatoly Legkodymov, a Russian national living in China, was arrested in Miami on Tuesday on charges that he operated the exchange as an unlicensed money exchange business that “in his own words, catered to ‘known crooks’”, a top Justice Department official said.

Prosecutors said Bitzlato exchanged more than US$700 million in cryptocurrency with Hydra Market, which they described as an illicit online marketplace for narcotics, stolen financial information, fraudulent identification documents and money laundering services that US and German law enforcement shut down in April 2022.

“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,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told reporters at a news conference at the Justice Department.


Bitzlato also received more than US$15 million in ransomware proceeds, prosecutors said. It was not immediately possible to contact Hydra Market for comment.

Authorities described Legkodymov as the cryptocurrency exchange’s co-founder, saying the 40-year-old Russian helped run the company from the Chinese city of Shenzhen.

Legkodymov did not immediately respond to an email with questions, and messages left on Bitzlato’s automated Telegram support chat service were answered with the phrase: “Oops, sorry.”

Bitzlato has processed US$4.58 billion worth of cryptocurrency transactions since May 3, 2018, prosecutors said, adding a substantial portion constitutes “the proceeds of crime”.

It also broke rules requiring significant vetting of customers and failed to meet requirements aimed at preventing money laundering, authorities said. Archived versions of Bitzlato’s website noted that the site’s clients could register using “only your email”.

The charges were filed in conjunction with the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which said it has prohibited certain transmittals of funds involving Bitzlato by any covered financial institution after labelling Bitzlato Ltd a “primary money laundering concern” related to Russian illicit finance.

Bitzlato knowingly serviced US customers, conducted transactions with US-based exchanges, was run using US online infrastructure – and, for at least some period of time, was being managed by the defendant while he was in the United States, prosecutors said.

By midday Wednesday, Bitzlato’s website was replaced by a notice saying that the service had been seized by French authorities “as part of a coordinated international law enforcement action”.
Newsletter

Related Articles

TechDigits
Close
0:00
0:00
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Yellen hints at ‘national security’ probe into Twitter purchase
Elon Musk reinstates Donald Trump's Twitter account.
George W. Bush and Barack Obama will hold back-to-back disinformation conferences
Solar + Powerwall ensures you never lose power, even if the grid goes down
This man paid for strangers' grocery and it moved them to tears
Meta introduces a new version of Mark Zuckerberg
Virtual Reality on billboards: BMW advertisement on Times Square
Apple CEO Tim Cook says coding should be taught as early as elementary school: 'It's the most important language you can learn'
Apple Executive Resigns After Viral TikTok Shows Him Making Crude Jokes
Huawei is not only better technology, but also protecting users better: Apple Warns Of Security Flaw For Iphones, Ipads And Macs
Mark Zuckerberg warns many teams will ‘shrink’ as Meta revenue drops
Elon Musk reportedly begged for forgiveness after his affair with Google co-founder Sergey Brin's wife
J.P. Morgan’s wealth management guru has some advice for recent college graduates on managing money and building wealth
Pentagon widens scope of UFO-hunting unit
Bezos' girlfriend Lauren Sanchez gives $1M to group focused on migrant kids at US-Mexico border
Hong Kong gets its first metaverse churches with avatars and virtual preachers
The ‘Dirty Quid Pro Quo’ Between Democrats and Big Tech
Elon Musk swore in March not to sell any Bitcoin, but Tesla cashed out 75% of its Bitcoin holdings amid the crypto winter just months later
Crypto winter continues at Gemini as another round of layoffs hits Winklevoss crypto exchange
Ex-CIA engineer Joshua Schulte convicted over massive data leak
EU to build new top-secret bunker
Elon Musk fathered twins with one of his executives last year
Apple launches Lockdown Mode to block spyware attacks on at-risk users
Australia floods worsen as thousands more Sydney residents evacuate
Women's own body dissatisfaction appears to influence their judgment of other women's body sizes
Hacker claims to have obtained data on 1 billion Chinese citizens
British Army's Twitter and YouTube accounts restored after hack
Google will delete location history for visits to abortion clinics after overturning of Roe v. Wade
Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Other Top Billionaires Lose $1.4 Trillion In Worst Half Ever
Philippines orders critical news site to shut down
Social media companies could be sued for addicting children to their digital-drug in California 
Airport chaos: European travel runs into pandemic cutbacks
The teen who tracks Elon Musk's jet agreed to stop monitoring Mark Cuban's flights on Twitter after the billionaire offered business advice
YouTube Shorts Claims 1.5 Billion Global Users As TikTok Rivalry Heats Up
×