The Russian founder of the cryptocurrency platform Bitzlato has been arrested in the United States on money laundering allegations. Anatoly Legkodymow was caught in Miami on Wednesday night, according to the US Department of Justice in Washington. The 40-year-old, who lives in China, is said to be the majority owner of the Hong Kong-registered cryptocurrency platform Bitzlato, through which illegal funds are said to have flowed, according to US judiciary.
“Today, the Justice Department dealt a hard blow to the cryptocrime ecosystem,” the Deputy Attorney General said Lisa Monaco. “Today’s actions send a clear message: Anyone who breaks our laws from China or Europe – or abuses our financial system from a tropical island – can expect an answer to their crimes in a US courtroom.”
“port for criminal profits”
According to the US judiciary, Bitzlato advertised that it only required minimal identification from its users and neither “selfies nor passports”. The platform has become a “haven for criminal profits and funds intended for use in criminal activities”.
The platform’s most important partner for cryptocurrency transactions is said to have been the “Hydra Market” dark web marketplace, which was shut down by German and US investigators last April and was once the illegal marketplace on the dark web with the highest turnover worldwide. “Hydra users exchanged more than $700 million in cryptocurrency through Bitzlato, directly or through intermediaries,” the US Department of Justice said.
According to the information, Legkodymov is charged with running an “unlicensed company for sending money”. Up to five years in prison in the US. At the same time as the Russian was arrested, the French authorities, in cooperation with the police organization Europol and partners in Spain, Portugal and Cyprus, dissolved Bitzlato’s digital infrastructure, the US ministry said.