The Russian founder of cryptocurrency platform Bitzlato has been arrested in the United States on money laundering charges. Anatoly Legkodymov was picked up in Miami on Wednesday night, according to the US Department of Justice in Washington. The 40-year-old man, who lives in China, is believed to be the majority owner of the Hong Kong-registered cryptocurrency platform Bitzlato, through which the illegal funds allegedly flowed, according to the US judiciary.
“Today, the Department of Justice dealt a severe blow to the cryptocrime ecosystem,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. “Today’s actions send a clear message: Anyone who violates our laws in China or Europe – or abuses our tropical island financial system – can expect a response to their crimes in a US court.”
“door to criminal profits”
According to the US judiciary, Bitzlato announced that it only required a minimum identification of its users and neither “selfies nor passports”. The platform became a “haven for criminal profits and funds earmarked for criminal activities”.
The platform’s most important partner for cryptocurrency transactions is said to have been the dark web market “Hydra Market”, which was shut down by German and American investigators last April and was once the illegal market on the dark web with the highest volume of business around the world. “Hydra users exchanged more than $700 million worth of cryptocurrency through Bitzlato, either directly or through intermediaries,” the US Department of Justice said.
According to the information, Legkodymov is accused of running an “unlicensed company for sending money”. Up to five years in prison in the US. At the same time the Russian was arrested, 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.