The founder of the Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato was arrested early Wednesday in Miami in connection with a vast money laundering operation, accused of transmitting more than $700 million in illicit funds in the past four years.
Authorities believe that the Bitzlato founder was using his exchange as a way to launder money, and that he may have been involved in other criminal activities as well. This is the latest in a series of crackdowns on cryptocurrency exchanges, as authorities become increasingly concerned about the potential for money laundering and other criminal activities in the cryptocurrency world.
She had spent the past several months gathering evidence and working with international law enforcement agencies to build a strong case against him.
Monaco was pleased when she announced that Legkodymov had been indicted on several counts of money laundering and fraud. She went on to explain that the financial hub he had created had processed hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal funds from drug dealers, hackers, and other criminals.
Monaco held a press conference to discuss the case against Legkodymov and the success of the work she and the other law enforcement agencies had done in bringing him to justice. She highlighted the importance of international cooperation in the fight against cybercrime, and she thanked the other agencies that had assisted in the investigation.
At the same time, Monaco warned of the growing threat posed by cybercriminals and other criminals who use high-tech financial hubs to launder their money. She stressed the need for continued international collaboration and cooperation in order to combat the spread of cybercrime.
Today the Department of Justice dealt a significant blow to the cryptocrime ecosystem, with the indictment of Bitzlato for facilitating the transmission of hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit funds, fueling darknet marketplaces and laundering the proceeds of ransomware attacks.
Federal officials declined to say why Legkodymov, who has been living in Shenzhen, China, was in Florida and how he was taken into custody, except to indicate he was running the business from Miami last year and early this year. They would only say that he was running the business from Miami and that he was taken into custody recently.