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Feds Bust Reputed Bitcoin Baron In $4 Billion Scheme To Launder Drug Money, Ransomware, Bribes And Identity ... - Benzinga

Published 2 years ago

Feds Bust Reputed Bitcoin Baron In $4 Billion Scheme To Launder Drug Money, Ransomware, Bribes And Identity ... - Benzinga

Benzinga via

A Russian criminal mastermind used his bitcoin currency exchange to launder $4 billion from a vast network of interlocking syndicates engaged in public corruption, identity theft, ransomware extortion, dark web drug deals and a raft of other global cybercrimes, federal prosecutors allege. A grand jury in California on Wednesday unsealed a 21-count indictment against Alexander Vinnik, the reputed kingpin of BTC-e, an exchange used to trade the digital currency since 2011, the U.S. Justice Department said. “Just as new computer technologies continue to change the way we engage each other and experience the world, so too will criminals subvert these new technologies to serve their own nefarious purposes,” U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch said in a statement. Vinnik’s bust is the latest in a series of U.S. operations against Russian cyber criminals in Europe and the United States, where officials said Vinnik did substantial business. They also come in the wake of computer hacks that U.S. intelligence agencies said were sanctioned by Russia in order to influence the election of President Donald Trump and discredit his opponent, Hillary Clinton. A special prosecutor, former FBI director Robert Mueller, is investigating Trump’s inner circle, several of whom had met with Russian figures before the election and during the presidential transition. There have been two major outbreaks of ransomware this year, with pseudonymous hackers demanding bitcoin as ransom in exchange for code to unfreeze computer systems infected with malware. “BTC-e was noted for its role in numerous ransomware and other cyber-criminal activity; its take-down is a significant accomplishment, and should serve as a reminder of our global reach in combating transnational cybercrime,” Michael D’Ambrosio, special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Criminal Investigative Division, said in the statement. Coin spectator is an automated news aggregation service. All copyrights belong to their respective owners. Images and text owned by copyright holders are used in reference to and promotion of those respective parties. Read in Full

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