Tuesday, February 7, 2023
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US Charges Bitzlato With $700 Million In Money Laundering

The US Justice Department and Treasury Department accused Bitzlato Ltd. of money laundering and detained its creator in Miami on Wednesday, according to authorities during a news briefing in Washington.

Bitzlato, a Hong Kong-based platform, has essentially been shut down, and its creator, Anatoly Legkodymov, has been brought into US custody, measures that will prevent Bitzlato from catering to Russian-linked criminals, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco stated at a news conference. She described the concerted enforcement measures, which comprised the FBI, French authorities, and the US Treasury Department, as disrupting “a bustling area of this criminal ecosystem.”

The Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) formally designated the company as a “primary money-laundering concern,” which is one of the most serious sanctions in the government’s criminal-fighting arsenal because it usually prevents a company from accessing the global financial system.

The term basically deems the exchange a “global pariah,” according to Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo. Legkodymov is a Russian citizen who was residing in China and is the principal owner of Bitzlato. He was set to be arraigned in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Wednesday after his arrest.

According to Justice Department authorities, the little-known cryptocurrency exchange provided peer-to-peer services and housed the wallets of criminals buying and selling illicit products, including $700 million in direct and indirect payments over the previous few years. FinCEN said that the firm played a critical role in managing illegal transactions for Russian ransomware perpetrators, including those linked to the Russian government.

According to Monaco, the raid on Bitzlato was the most significant US move against a cybercriminal network to date. The company’s servers were reportedly linked to regular transactions with the Russian-based Hydra Market, a darknet market targeted by US investigators last year. The “Hydra-Bitzlato crypto-crime axis” has been shut down, according to Monaco.

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Jeewan Singh is CryptoShrypto’s content writer and a seasoned writer with over two years of experience in writing about Indian Securities Market. Jeewan's participation in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency started in late 2020, and he hasn't looked back since. The technical and economic outcomes of cryptocurrency are what spark his curiosity, and he keeps one eye on the market.


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