US Prosecutors Indict BTC-e Crypto Exchange, Seek Millions in Penalties

United States prosecutors have filed a grievance in opposition to now-defunct crypto alternate BTC-e and its suspected operator Alexander Vinnik, in response to a document filed within the Northern District of California on July 25.

Per the submitting, the Monetary Crimes Enforcement Community (FinCEN) decided civil penalties for BTC-e and Vinnik final 12 months, who face fines of over $88 million and $12 million, respectively.

The submitting states outright that BTC-e and Vinnik didn’t try to register with FinCEN, implement Anti-Cash Laundering practices, or report suspicious exercise usually.

Alleged cash laundering and lack of regulation

The submitting additionally notes that BTC-e and Vinnik have been indicted in 2016 on counts of working an unlicensed cash companies enterprise and conspiracy to commit cash laundering. In 2017, a grand jury issued a superseding indictment with added fees of cash laundering and fascinating in illegal financial transactions.

As per the latest indictment, this alternate didn’t require an identification test by way of any means as a way to enroll and use the service, though it typically required identification validation for sure wire transfers. 

Extra crucially, BTC-e was reportedly utilized by criminals for cash laundering and liquidation by anonymously changing their proceeds from crypto to fiat cash. In accordance with the report, BTC-e facilitated hacks, ransomware funds, identification theft, embezzlement and narcotics distribution.

Vinnik is a Russian nationwide who’s presently imprisoned in Greece. Vinnik reportedly held a senior management place in BTC-e, and he and the alternate are being indicted once more in 2019 on behalf of the U.S. Division of the Treasury.

Vinnik was reportedly conscious of BTC-e’s cash laundering facilitation, and even despatched emails by which he mentioned he was the proprietor of BTC-e and was utilizing the alternate for illegally-backed transactions himself. Vinnik additionally allegedly holds accounts related to different felony actions, together with ones tied with the theft from additionally defunct alternate Mt. Gox.

An enchantment for extradition

As beforehand reported by Cointelegraph, Vinnik appealed for extradition to Russia from his imprisonment in Greece this March. Russia’s Commissioner for Human Rights Tatyana Moskalkova had backed the request beforehand, asking the United Nations Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and Greek Justice Minister Michalis Kalogirou to assist the extradition. 

On the time, commissioner Moskalkova argued that Vinnik must be extradited to be together with his household as his spouse was deathly unwell. Moskalkova mentioned:

“Given the extraordinary humanitarian state of affairs, I’d ask for assist extraditing him to Russia in order that he could possibly be nearer to his household.”

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