According to recent findings from Europol, law enforcement personnel confiscated crypto wallets worth over $19 million in cryptocurrency as part of their operations against Bitzlato.
On January 23rd, Europol disclosed that about 46% of the 1 billion euro (or $1.09 billion) channeled through Bitzlato was related to unlawful deeds. Their assessment showed that Bitzlato acquired over 2.1 billion euros in cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, most of which were then exchanged into Russian rubles.
Europol reported that while the exchange of crypto-assets for legal tender is not a crime, investigations point to extensive amounts of criminal assets being circulated through the Bitzlato platform. Many transactions can be attributed to entities listed on the Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctions list, such as money laundering activities and involvement in ransomware and child abuse material.
On January 18th, U.S. authorities declared the apprehension of Bitzlato founder Anatoly Legkodymov in Florida. Europol further reported that, with assistance from law enforcement agencies in Belgium, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, and the Netherlands, four more people affiliated with the crypto exchange were arrested; one individual was detained in Cyprus, while Spanish officials apprehended three.
Europol accompanied the arrests with a stunning revelation: the seized wallets carried an estimated 18 million euros, or $19.5 million. Also, over 100 accounts at different crypto exchanges were frozen that had control of €50 million. U.S. authorities joined in to seize Bitzlato’s servers, believing it was linked to Russian illegal finance activities.
On January 18th, Legkodymov was brought before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida after his apprehension on unspecified charges. It remains unknown if legal action will be taken against his collaborators at Bitzlato in Europe.
This article has been originally published at: https://www.cryptopolitan.com/europol-seizes-crypto-wallets-worth-over-19-5-million-bitzlato/