The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has just announced that they have seized the site of a Russian crypto exchange named Bitzlato.
A joint enforcement action against an international cryptocurrency corporation was announced by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Treasury Department today.
This inquiry focuses on the Bitzlato bitcoin trading platform, which is registered in Hong Kong. The announcement is made at a time when the cryptocurrency market is going through a lot of change, especially in light of the collapse of the once-dominant cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
The founder of the Hong Kong-based website Bitzlato, Anatoly Legkodymov, has reportedly been detained by U.S. officials, according to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.
This ends the platform’s ongoing support of recognized Russian-related criminal behavior. In addition to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Treasury Department, Monaco described coordinating enforcement operations.
The operation against a crypto criminal network was dubbed the most serious one undertaken to yet by Monaco. According to a report, the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York said:
“To anyone who still believes that they can hide from the law by using cryptocurrency, this prosecution should put that illusion to rest.”
The authorities asserted that BitZlato powered darknet markets and helped with ransomware attacks, which resulted in over 700 million dollars in illegal transactions between 2018 and 2022, both directly and indirectly.
The platform was attractive to criminals since it accepted very little in the way of personally identifying information from its users, much like it does with the bulk of larger exchanges.
AML LAWS BREACHED
The Russian drug lord Anatoly Legkodymov was apprehended on Tuesday night in Miami on suspicion of operating a money transmission business that failed to adhere to anti-money laundering regulations and carried illicit funds.
The 40-year-old crypto tycoon, who presently resides in China, will be taken before the Southern District of Florida U.S. District Court on Wednesday afternoon to answer to the allegations.
“Whether you break our laws from China or Europe, or abuse our financial system from a tropical island, you can expect to answer for your crimes inside a United States courtroom”, said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.
The announcement was made on Wednesday at noon, and Lisa Monaco, the deputy attorney general of the United States, along with Brian Turner, the associate deputy director of the FBI, Breon Peace, the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Kenneth Polite, the assistant attorney general of the criminal division of the Department of Justice, and Wally Adeyemo, the deputy secretary of the Treasury, presided over a press conference.