The alleged operator of the illicit cryptocurrency change BTC-e was extradited yesterday from Greece to america to face prices within the Northern District of California.
“After greater than 5 years of litigation, Russian nationwide Alexander Vinnik was extradited to america yesterday to be held accountable for working BTC-e, a legal cryptocurrency change, which laundered greater than $4 billion of legal proceeds,” mentioned Assistant Legal professional Basic Kenneth A. Well mannered, Jr. of the Justice Division’s Legal Division. “This extradition demonstrates the Division’s dedication to investigating and dismantling illicit cyber exercise and wouldn’t have been potential with out the relentless work of the Justice Division’s Workplace of Worldwide Affairs. The Justice Division thanks the Authorities of Greece, notably the Ministry of Justice, for all their efforts in securing the defendant’s switch to america.”
Alexander Vinnik, 42, a Russian citizen, was charged in a 21-count superseding indictment in January 2017. Vinnik was taken into custody in Greece in July 2017 on the request of america. He made his preliminary look earlier at the moment in federal court docket in San Francisco earlier than U.S. Justice of the Peace Choose Sallie Kim.
Based on the indictment, Vinnik and his co-conspirators allegedly owned, operated, and administrated BTC-e, a big cybercrime and on-line cash laundering entity that allowed its customers to commerce in bitcoin with excessive ranges of anonymity and developed a buyer base closely reliant on legal exercise.
The indictment alleges BTC-e facilitated transactions for cybercriminals worldwide and acquired legal proceeds from quite a few pc intrusions and hacking incidents, ransomware scams, identification theft schemes, corrupt public officers, and narcotics distribution rings, and was used to facilitate crimes starting from pc hacking, to fraud, identification theft, tax refund fraud schemes, public corruption, and drug trafficking. The investigation has revealed that BTC-e acquired greater than $4 billion value of bitcoin over the course of its operation.
Regardless of doing substantial enterprise in america, the indictment alleges that BTC-e was not registered as a cash companies enterprise with the U.S. Division of Treasury, had no anti-money laundering course of, no system for acceptable “know your buyer” or “KYC” verification, and no anti-money laundering program as required by federal regulation.
In 2017, FinCEN assessed a civil cash penalty in opposition to BTC-e for willfully violating U.S. anti-money laundering (AML) legal guidelines and in opposition to Vinnik for his function within the violations. A civil matter to implement civil financial penalties, within the quantity of $88,596,314 as to BTC-e and $12 million as to Vinnik, is pending within the Northern District of California.
The indictment prices BTC-e and Vinnik with one depend of operation of an unlicensed cash service enterprise, and one depend of conspiracy to commit cash laundering. As well as, the indictment prices Vinnik with 17 counts of cash laundering and two counts of participating in illegal financial transactions.
The FBI, IRS Legal Investigation (Oakland Area Workplace and Cyber Crime Unit, Washington, D.C.), Homeland Safety Investigations, and U.S. Secret Service Legal Investigative Division are investigating the case.
Trial Legal professional C. Alden Pelker of the Justice Division’s Pc Crime and Mental Property Part, and Assistant U.S. Legal professional Claudia Quiroz of the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace for the Northern District of California are prosecuting the case.
The Justice Division’s Nationwide Cryptocurrency Enforcement Crew offered substantial help. The extradition request was dealt with by the Justice Division’s Workplace of Worldwide Affairs.
The Justice Division thanks the Greek Ministry of Justice for its cooperation in securing the defendant’s switch to america.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed harmless till confirmed responsible past an inexpensive doubt in a court docket of regulation.