U.S. authorities have arrested a Russian cryptocurrency executive suspected of exchanging millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency with drug traffickers and cybercriminals.
On January 18, 2023, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reported that Anatoly Legkodymov, 40, majority owner of the Bitzlato cryptocurrency exchange, was arrested in Miami.
The U.S. Treasury Department calls Anatoly’s cryptocurrency exchange a “major money laundering concern.”
Bitzlato allegedly exchanged over $700 million in crypto assets for Hydra. Hydra is basically used to run all sorts of illegal activities, including smuggling, drug dealing, selling people’s personal information, and more.
In an interview with the media, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said the illegal activity was causing a “crisis of confidence in the cryptocurrency market.”
Following the actions of US authorities against Bitzlato’s owners (moving this part to the end), authorities in Europe and France seized Bitzlato’s cryptocurrency and its computer servers, crippling the exchange.
Anatoly Legkodimov originally lived in China. We still don’t know why he was in Miami.
During ransomware attacks, hackers prefer to receive ransoms in cryptocurrencies and launder money through exchanges or “mixers”.
Hackers use cryptocurrencies, crypto exchanges, and mixers to launder money.
A “mixer” is a service used to hide the original transaction and the details of the sender and receiver so that the processed transaction cannot be traced.
Bitzlato has processed over $4.5 billion in cryptocurrency transactions since 2018.
Data aggregator Chainalysis highlighted that cybercriminals and hackers received more than $1.2 billion in ransoms in 2020 and 2021 combined.
Ari Redbord, head of legal and government affairs at TRM Labs, said the Bitzlato disruption was part of a “very strategic” effort by US authorities to “track down the illicit underworld of the crypto economy.” said it was a department.
TRM Labs is an intelligence company that helps financial institutions, crypto businesses, and government agencies investigate crypto-related financial crimes.
In an exchange with CNN, Redbord said, “These kinds of regulatory actions send a message to the entire crypto industry. We will continue to pursue non-compliant exchanges regardless of location or size. I do,” he said.
(As a US reader, it seems odd to end this article with a quote. Readers want to see the concluding paragraph that wraps up the article.)
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