• The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged two Russians, Alexey Bilyuchenko and Aleksandr Verner, with conspiring to launder 647,000 Bitcoin (BTC) stolen from their hack of Mt. Gox in 2011.
• The DOJ accused them of using the unauthorized access to transfer BTC to wallets controlled by them and their co-conspirators between 2011 and 2014.
• Additionally, the DOJ is charging Bilyuchenko and Alexander Vinnik for conspiring to operate BTC-E, a crypto exchange shut down in 2017 because it facilitated criminal activities.
US DOJ Charges Two Russians with Laundering Over 600k Bitcoin
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged two Russians, Alexey Bilyuchenko and Aleksandr Verner, with conspiring to launder 647,000 Bitcoin (BTC) stolen from their hack of Mt. Gox in 2011. According to a June 9 statement, the DOJ accused them of using their unauthorized access to Mt. Gox servers to transfer BTC to wallets controlled by them and their co-conspirators between 2011 and 2014.
BTC-E Exchange Used For Money Laundering
Additionally, the DOJ is charging Bilyuchenko and Alexander Vinnik for conspiring to operate BTC-E. This crypto exchange was shut down in 2017 by the authorities because it facilitated ways for criminals to transfer, launder, and store their criminal proceeds. The assistant attorney general of DOJ’s criminal division Kenneth A. Polite Jr., said that “the defendants used funds stolen from victims around the world — including victims in the United States —to finance their own lavish lifestyles” through running this platform as well as other money laundering activities made possible by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin Cash or Litecoin which can be exchanged for cash on traditional exchanges without requiring identification details or personal information about customers who use these services .
Stiff Penalties For Money Laundering With Cryptocurrencies
The charges against Bilyuchenko and Verner are punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment each if convicted while Vinnik faces up 45 years imprisonment if found guilty according his indictment filed in July 2017 when he was arrested in Greece at US request after being identified as one of those responsible for money laundering activities on BTCE exchange platform .
Law Enforcement Increasingly Targeting Crypto Crimes
This latest case further demonstrates how law enforcement agencies are increasingly targeting cryptocurrency crimes such as money laundering involving digital assets like bitcoin due its anonymous nature which makes it difficult for authorities detect suspicious activities making use illicitly obtained funds transferred through virtual currencies almost impossible trace back its original source .
Regulation Of Crypto Industry Needed To Combat Money Laundering
As long as there is no regulation governing cryptocurrency industry combating digital asset related crime such as money laundering will remain a challenge thus countries need strengthen anti money laundering regulation surrounding virtual currency exchanges ensure they are compliant similar laws applied banks other financial institutions prevent further scams thefts committed using cryptocurrencies .