News Worms
News Worms

BTC-e down without any explanation; over 66K Bitcoins on the move

BTC-e down without any explanation; over 66K Bitcoins on the move

Greek police arrested the owner of BTC-e, 38-year-old Russian national Alexander Vinnik, for his role as owner of the bitcoin trading platform, describing him as "internationally sought "mastermind" of a crime organisation". The 38-year-old Russian is suspected of directing a criminal organization accused of laundering over $4 billion through BTC-e since 2011.

They alleged Vinnik and his firm "received" more than $4 billion in bitcoin and did substantial business in the United States without following appropriate protocols to protect against money laundering and other crimes. Ever since the downfall of Mt. Gox in 2014, Karpeles has been investigated by Japanese authorities due to his involvement in Mt. Gox and suspicion that Karpeles manipulated user funds over a long period of time.

Today the Russian Times ran the headline "Major Bitcoin trading site in limbo as Greece arrests Russian man on United States charges of laundering $4bn".

It was not possible to reach Vinnik for comment.

Notably absent from the statements were indications as to whether the USA government would move to permanently shutter the exchange, which just hours ago said that it would return to service.

The US Justice Department has been quite active in tracking down Russian cyber criminals.

Alexander Vinnik was picked up by Greek police in a small village on Tuesday following an investigation led by the US Justice Department.

US prosecutors say that Levashov managed a network of thousands of computers used by hackers. WizSec traced Mt. Gox transactions to the online identity WME, which BTC-E publicly vouched for in the past.

Mt. Gox was one of the most prominent examples of how the lightly regulated cybercurrency market could burn investors, after an estimated $450 million worth of bitcoin and $27 million in hard cash vanished when it collapsed. He is likely to be extradited to the USA, as the U.S. government has indicted him of laundering about $4 Billion for criminals involved in drug trafficking and hacking.

Meanwhile, BTC-e, which is based in Russian Federation, is down for a third day in a row and shows a maintenance message.

Prosecutors say that Vinnik tried to hide his activities but links with the proceeds of the Mt. Gox debacle exist. Funds stolen from Mt. Gox were deposited at BTC-e, to a now-defunct Bitcoin exchange called Trade Hill, and back to Mt. Gox under another account name.

The group stops short of accusing Vinnik of stealing the Bitcoin himself, and while it doesn't claim direct credit for the arrest, Wizsec says it and others have been working on the case and passing their findings to law enforcement.


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