Russian owner of Bitzlato crypto exchange arrested in US

The American authorities arrested in Miami the owner of the Chinese cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato, 40-year-old Anatoly Legkodymov, nicknamed Gandalf,
informs BBC.

Russian owner of Bitzlato crypto exchange arrested in US

Photo: Shutterstock

At the same time, five accomplices of Legkodymov, mostly Russians and Ukrainians, were arrested in Spain, Portugal and Cyprus. A large-scale police operation in Europe was led by the French authorities.

The Department of Justice and the US Treasury charged Bitzlato Ltd. in money laundering for a total amount of $700 million.

It is assumed that the criminals were hiding behind the crypto-exchange for drug trafficking and the sale of stolen financial information. Bitzlato also allowed converting cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and Ethereum, into Russian rubles.

Bitzlato Ltd. registered in Hong Kong and operating worldwide. The crypto-exchange required minimal user identification, accepting even fake data, fictitious names. Prosecutors claim that Legkodymov and his colleagues were aware of this.

The largest trading partner of the crypto exchange was the anonymous online marketplace on the dark web, Hydra. In 2022, American and German law enforcement agencies were able to eliminate it.

Bitzlato’s digital infrastructure has also been shut down, including its servers in France. Cryptocurrency worth $17 million seized

Legkodymov faces up to five years in prison.

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