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The US Department of Justice has announced that it has dealt a “significant blow” to the crypto crime landscape after arresting a Russian national alleged to have founded a significant criminal online platform.
Cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato processed greater than $700 million dollars’ value of illicit funds, in accordance with the DOJ, promoting its services to users who were “known to be crooks”.
Alleged founder Anatoly Legkodymov was arrested in Miami on Tuesday.
“Overnight, the Department worked with key partners here and abroad to disrupt Bitzlato, the China-based money laundering engine that fueled a high-tech axis of cryptocrime, and to arrest its founder, Russian national Anatoly Legkodymov,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, who led Wednesday’s press conference.
“Today’s actions send the clear message: whether you break our laws from China or Europe – or abuse our economic system from a tropical island – you may expect to reply to your crimes inside a United States courtroom.”
FBI Assistant Deputy Director Brian Turner added: “The FBI will proceed to pursue actors who try to mask their criminal activity behind keyboards and use means similar to cryptocurrency to evade law enforcement.
“We, together with our federal and international partners, will work relentlessly to disrupt and dismantle all these criminal enterprises. Today’s arrest should function a reminder the FBI will impose risk and consequences upon those that engage in these activities.”
The value of bitcoin dropped sharply within the build-up to the announcement as investors and traders feared the potential introduction of strict regulation, nevertheless has since seen a slight recovery.
The announcment comes amid ongoing legal motion against beleagured crypto exchange FTX and its founder Sam Bankman-Fried.