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Europol seizes crypto wallets worth over $19.5 million from Bitzlato

Europol seizes crypto wallets worth over $19.5 million from Bitzlato

TL;DR Breakdown

  • After a successful joint operation between U.S. and European law enforcement, officials managed to apprehend 5 persons connected to the exchange service Bitzlato, including its founder Anatoly Legkodymov.
  • Europol disclosed that about 46% of the 1 billion euro (or $1.09 billion) channeled through Bitzlato was related to unlawful deeds.

On Monday, Europol announced that it had confiscated cryptocurrency worth nearly €18 million ($19.5 million), alongside vehicles and electronic equipment, from the Hong Kong-registered crypto exchange platform Bitzlato as part of its continued efforts to combat crime.

On January 23rd, Europol also 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.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

Damilola Lawrence

Damilola Lawrence

Damilola is a crypto enthusiast, content writer, and journalist. When he is not writing, he spends most of his time reading and keeping tabs on exciting projects in the blockchain space.

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