TL; DR Breakdown
- Dutch authorities have arrested Russian crypto-prenuer Denis Dubnikov. Reports indicate that he was arrested in Amsterdam on 1st November.
- The Russian Foreign Office has confirmed the arrest. Through its spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, Moscow insists that it’s giving him the necessary assistance.
Russia has officially confirmed the arrest of its national Denis Dubnikov in Holland. The Country’s foreign ministry says Dubnikov was arrested in Amsterdam allegedly over crypto crimes.
Mr. Dubnikov is a founding partner of crypto trading platforms Coyote Crypto and Eggchange.
A spokesperson at the Foreign Office, Maria Zakharova, had confirmed the arrest. So reports Forklog, a crypto news site. Mr. Dubnikov was taken into custody on 1st November 2021.
Zakharova said that Russia was assisting the detainee as much as it could. She reiterated that Moscow was in touch with Dutch authorities to ensure Dubnikov’s rights were upheld.
The news of Dubnikov’s arrest has been trending on social media. Mainstream media outlets are only picking it up now.
Dubnikov has been a wanted man since 2018
Reports suggest that US law enforcement had a hand in the Russian crypto-preneur’s arrest.
He’s allegedly facing indictment for a 2018 crypto heist. Investigators believe that part of the loot passed through his exchanges.
Forklog says that the arrest was at the behest of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI is seeking his extradition to face money laundering charges.
Sergei Mendeleev, chief executive of Defi outfit Indefibank, corroborates the report. In a 4th November Facebook post, he asserts that the entrepreneur’s arrest relates to the 2018 saga.
According to Mendeleev, Dubnikov had been detained upon arrival at a Mexican airport. Mexico had subsequently deported him to Holland, where he was arrested.
Mendeleev wondered how that could happen to a Russian national. He’d therefore rallied friends to call for Zarakhova’s comment. It’s this call that prompted her clarification.
Dubnikov’s arrest may, however, not come as a surprise. A Bloomberg report had indicated that
Eggchange was under investigation both in the US and Europe.
Dubnikov’s isn’t the only arrest so far
Eggchange is facing accusations of money laundering in both jurisdictions.
Again, his arrest comes in the wake of the US sanctioning another crypto operation with Russian connections.
The Treasury Department blocked Suex. Like Eggchange, the crypto brokerage faces money-laundering accusations. Though it has Czech registration, it runs its operations from St.Petersburg and Moscow.
Dubnikov adds to the list of Russian nationals the US has detained for crypto crimes. It has also arrested IT guru Alexander Vinnik before.
The US took Vinnik into custody in 2017 while vacationing with family in Thessaloniki. Prosecutors have linked him to the disgraced BTC-e exchange.
They accused him of abetting the laundering of USD9 billion through the defunct crypto exchange. Following his extradition to France, he’s now serving a five-year sentence for those crimes.
Vinnik continues to be a wanted man, though. Russia has asked France to extradite him to face further charges in his home country. His only respite has been the French judiciary’s rejection of Moscow’s request.
Things haven’t been rosy for crypto crime masterminds from the Eastern bloc. There’s been a concerted effort to bring them to book.
Besides the Vinnik and Dubnikov duo, authorities have apprehended Dmitry Vasiliev too. Mr. Vasiliev is the former CEO of Wex, the successor to BTC-e. He awaits extradition from Poland to face fraud charges in Kazakhstan.