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US Government Charges Two Men in $400 Million Mt. Gox Hack


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Alex Lari

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Two Russian individuals have been charged by the U.S. federal government for their involvement in the $400 million series of cyberattacks that caused the collapse of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange in 2014.

In a press release on Friday the Department of Justice revealed that it has made public a previously sealed 2019 indictment, which accuses Alexey Bilyuchenko and Aleksandr Verner of collaborating to launder 647,000 stolen bitcoin from the exchange. At the time, the stolen bitcoin had an estimated value of approximately $400 million.

Bilyuchenko is facing separate charges from the government for his association with Alexander Vinnik, who was indicted by the DOJ in 2017 and extradited to the U.S. last autumn.

Read more on the subject : BTC-e’s Vinnik Confesses to Laundering Billions of Dollars of Bitcoin

Together, they operated BTC-e, a bitcoin exchange that is no longer operational. The exchange is stated to have played a significant role as “one of the primary means through which cybercriminals worldwide transferred, laundered, and stored the illicit proceeds of their illegal activities.”

When Alexander Vinnik was indicted, the government claimed that the funds stolen from Mt. Gox were funneled through BTC-e and wallets linked to Vinnik. Now the Department of Justice asserts that Bilyuchenko, Verner, and additional accomplices were involved in laundering more than 300,000 bitcoin, which were also stolen from Mt. Gox.

In 2015, Mark Karpeles, the owner and CEO of Mt. Gox, was arrested and faced charges in Japan, including embezzlement and aggravated breach of trust. However, in 2019, Karpeles was acquitted of the majority of these charges, receiving a suspended sentence solely for falsifying data.

Read more on the subject : Mt Gox Founder Guilty of Data Manipulation, No Jail Time

He shared a tweet recently that included a link to the recently unsealed indictment.

In a press release on June 9, 2023, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. stated:

“In the indictments, it is alleged that Bilyuchenko and Verner engaged in the theft of a substantial amount of bitcoin from Mt. Gox, ultimately contributing to the exchange’s insolvency.
With the proceeds obtained from the Mt. Gox theft, Bilyuchenko allegedly played a role in establishing the infamous BTC-e virtual currency exchange, which facilitated money laundering for cybercriminals worldwide.”

Bilyuchenko faces charges related to conspiracy to commit money laundering and operating an unlicensed money services business, carrying a potential sentence of over 20 years in prison. Verner, on the other hand, is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years of imprisonment.

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