Bitzlato exchange busted as US deal deals ‘blow to crypto crime’, owner arrested.
Anatoly Legkodimov, a resident of China, has been arrested by the US authorities on charges that his Hong Kong-registered crypto trading platform, Bitzlato, illegally processed and authenticated hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bitcoins. It was revealed by a high official of the United States Department of Justice that the Russian man, the co-founder and majority owner of the exchange, was arrested by the FBI on Tuesday in Miami. Speaking during a press conference, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco states that crypto trading platforms have been disrupted by US Treasury Department agents and prosecutors working with the US Treasury Department and French law enforcement. Its services have been suspended and a China-based cryptocurrency exchange famous for laundering criminal proceeds from the darknet and carrying out ransomware attacks also said that today the Department of Justice has delivered a significant blow to the crypto crime ecosystem. The deputy attorney general says Legkodimov has been accused of running the exchange as a high-tech professional hub that in his words “caters to known crooks”. He alleges that the crypto exchange was an important financial resource for Hydra and Russia’s largest darknet market which was shut down in April last year by German police in collaboration with US agencies. The attorney general also alleges that Hydra buyers were illegally funded from crypto accounts hosted on crypto exchange Bitzlato, while sellers of drugs and stolen financial information and the tools used in the hacking transferred criminal proceeds to exchange accounts. shipped and collectively this amounts to $700 million in direct and indirect transfers between 2018 and 2022.
The deputy attorney general also states that participants in the operation engaged in a coordinated campaign of disruption. This included law enforcement actions in several European countries and the seizure of Bitzlato’s servers. By Wednesday afternoon the website had been replaced by a notice that the service had been seized by French authorities and that all had been confirmed, Reuters reports. Sure enough, on Wednesday the operators of the crypto exchange made an announcement on Telegram that it had suffered a hack and told users that withdrawals had been suspended indefinitely until the issue was resolved. Till then do not send coins on the platform or do any other work. Furthermore the exchange also states that their services were hacked and funds were withdrawn from the service and then noting that the attackers were able to steal a small portion of the funds without showing the amount and could have done the same so that in another message to the customers assuring that your property is completely safe and nothing has happened and we guarantee to all of you that we will refund all the victims and this includes will able to. Definitely further stated that as a security measure we have disabled all services and we are working to restore our work and do not ask to refill our service wallet Further indicates that its team is working on the issue and the platform is still offline at the time of writing. The hack is likely to have taken place after the exchange on Tuesday announced maintenance scheduled for Thursday, January 19, and may be aimed at improving the operation and security of the service. The notice informed users that it would block transactions between 5:00 am and 9:00 am Moscow time. It was further stated that the Exchange strongly recommends that you organize your work activity keeping in view the amendments and also any wrong projects in order to avoid untoward situations as well as to avoid inconvenience. Do not execute and the platform also advised customers and informed them that it is disabling deposits and withdrawals and trading. Bitzlato was launched in 2016 under the name Changebot and later became a cryptocurrency exchange offering peer-to-peer services. It lists the Russian ruble as a pair, along with bitcoin, ETH, USDT and other digital coins and can be bought and sold with a variety of payment methods. Certainly this crypto exchange Online crypto exchangers like Bitzlato are popular in Russia and the former Soviet space but crypto assets are not yet fully regulated in this region and are often targeted by Commonwealth authorities of states and more recently It was revealed in the same report that the judiciary of Belarus has imposed a heavy fine on the operator of one such platform.