A Belarusian and a Cypriot citizen had alleged ties to the now-defunct bitcoin exchange BTC-e. He is currently facing allegations of money laundering and operating an unauthorized money services business.
Aliaksandr Klimenka was detained in Latvia on December 21, 2023. Later, he was extradited to the United States and is presently in detention. If he is proven guilty, he faces up to 25 years in jail.
BTC-e has been operational since 2011. It was taken by law enforcement officials in late July 2017. Meanwhile, in Greece, another major member, Alexander Vinnik, was detained.
The exchange claims to have received deposits totaling more than $4 billion. Furthermore, Vinnik laundered monies obtained from the theft of another digital bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, via a variety of online exchanges, including BTC-e.
The exchange, according to court records, is a "significant cybercrime and online money laundering entity. It allows its users to trade in bitcoin with high levels of anonymity, thereby building a customer base that is engaged in criminal activity."
- Hacking incidents
- Ransomware scams
- Identity theft schemes
- Narcotic distribution rings
According to the US Department of Justice (DoJ), "BTC-e's servers, maintained in the United States, were supposedly one of the primary ways in which BTC-e and its operators effectuated their scheme."
Klimenka and Soft-FX, a technology services business, managed and released these servers. Later on, they were controlled to defend.
BTC-e has also been criticized for neglecting to implement an anti-money laundering procedure. Furthermore, it was unable to complete know-your-customer (KYC) verification in accordance with United States federal rules.
In June 2023, two Russian nationals, Alexey Bilyuchenko and Aleksandr Verner, were charged with their involvement. They employed their genius plans to carry out the digital theft of Mt. Gox in 2014.
Klimenka's indictment comes as the Department of Justice charges Noah Michael Urban, 19, of Palm Coast, Florida, with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft violations. From August 2022 to March 2023, $800,000 was stolen from at least five distinct victims.
Noah Michael Urban used the identities Sosa, Elijah, King Bob, Anthony Ramirez, and Gustavo Fring. According to KrebsOnSecurity, a "top member" of a larger cybercrime ecosystem, and a significant member of the cybercrime gang known as Scattered Spider. The fascinating part is that it started calling itself The Com.
It also follows the Justice Department's announcement of charges against three people. They're all known as Robert Powell, Carter Rohn, and Emily Hernandez. Concerning a SIM-swapping assault on cryptocurrency exchange FTX. It enabled the theft of more than $400 million by the time it collapsed in 2022.
One of the most startling facts is that there are three well-known personalities: Powell (as R, R$, and ElSwapo1), Rohn (aka Carti and Punslayer), and Hernandez (aka Em). They were accused of conducting a large cybercriminal theft ring known as the Powell SIM Swapping Crew. After some time, two assaults occurred between 2021 and April 2023.
Last but not least, Blockchain analytics firm "Elliptic" stated that the looted assets had been laundered through cross-chain criminality in coordination with Russia-nexus middlemen in an attempt to conceal the trail.