A Belarusian and Cypriot national linked with the cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e is facing charges that can lead maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.
Aliaksandr Klimenka, a Belarusian and Cypriot national linked with the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e, is facing charges with money laundering conspiracy and operation of an unlicensed money services business.
“An indictment was unsealed on Tuesday charging a Belarusian and Cypriot national with money laundering conspiracy and operation of an unlicensed money services business.” reads the press release published by DoJ. “According to the indictment, between 2011 and July 2017, Aliaksandr Klimenka, 42, allegedly controlled BTC-e, a digital currency exchange, with Alexander Vinnik and others.”
According to the indictment, Klimenka allegedly controlled the platform BTC-e with Alexander Vinnik and others. Klimenka also allegedly controlled a technology services company named Soft-FX, and the financial company FX Open.
The servers that were hosting the BTC-e were maintained in the United States, and according to the DoJ, they were allegedly leased to and maintained by Klimenka and Soft-FX.
BTC-e was popular in the cybercrime ecosystem, it was an illegal platform because it was not registered as a money services business with the U.S. Department of Treasury and had no anti-money laundering process, no system for appropriate “know your customer” or “KYC” verification, and no anti-money laundering program.
In 2017, Greek Police arrested the Russian national Alexander Vinnik and they accused the man of running the BTC-e Bitcoin exchange to launder more than US$4bn worth of the cryptocurrency.
The authorities reported that since 2011, 7 million Bitcoin had gone into the BTC-e exchange and 5.5 million withdrawn.
The police arrested Klimenka in Latvia on December 21, 2023, he was extradited to the U.S. and is currently being held in custody. The man is facing charges that can lead maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.
(SecurityAffairs – hacking, commercial spyware)