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What happened? The Spanish Civil Guard detained three citizens of Russia and Ukraine in Barcelona and Valencia. They are charged with participation in illegal operations on the Bitzlato exchange. Among the detainees was the former top manager of the EXMO cryptocurrency exchange Pavel Lerner. This is reported by the DW agency with reference to media data.
News on the DW website
Lerner led EXMO until 2018, and then went to the Utorg exchange. He is known for his work on the MCR decentralized crypto ruble project, as well as for his research in the field of quantum computing and analytical systems. In 2017, Lerner was kidnapped in Ukraine by unidentified individuals and later released for a ransom in bitcoin of $1 million.
Details of the arrest. According to Spanish law enforcement officials, Bitzlato is one of the main mechanisms for laundering criminal capital using cryptocurrencies. In addition to arrests in Spain, the operation was also carried out in Portugal, France and Cyprus. All those arrested are currently in custody.
The situation with Bitzlato. On January 18, Bitzlato reported a hacker attack and the theft of part of the funds. Withdrawals were suspended indefinitely, users were asked not to replenish their accounts during the proceedings. Anatoly Legkodymov, co-founder and main shareholder of Bitzlato, was arrested by US authorities on January 17. He was accused of laundering $700 million, running an unlicensed crypto exchange, and violating KYC/AML rules. The European Union Police Service said that Bitzlato exchanged more than $1 billion in criminal assets.
It also became known that the Binance crypto exchange blocked accounts associated with Bitzlato. The restrictions affected users from Eastern Europe and the CIS.
Read more about the situation with the arrest of the co-founder of the service and how Bitzlato attracted the attention of the US authorities, read in a special material GetBlock Magazine.
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