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Department of Justice officials on Wednesday announced the arrest of a Russian executive accused of running a cryptocurrency exchange that facilitated illicit transactions involving drugs and money laundering.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco held a press conference with federal prosecutors and FBI officials announcing the arrest of Bitzlato Ltd. founder and majority owner Anatoly Legkodymov in Miami on Tuesday. Legkodymov is a Russian national who lives in China. His cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato is registered in Hong Kong and advertises itself as requiring minimal identification from users.
Bitzlato is accused of transporting and transmitting illicit funds and facilitating other crimes in cryptocurrency transactions with Hydra Market, which DOJ officials described as "an anonymous, illicit online marketplace for narcotics, stolen financial information, fraudulent identification documents, and money laundering services that was the largest and longest running darknet market in the world."
"Today the Department of Justice dealt a significant blow to the cryptocrime ecosystem," stated Deputy Attorney General Monaco. "Overnight, the Department worked with key partners here and abroad to disrupt Bitzlato, the China-based money laundering engine that fueled a high-tech axis of cryptocrime, and to arrest its founder, Russian national Anatoly Legkodymov."
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