US authorities have apprehended a Russian crypto executive who is allegedly involved in dealings with drug traffickers and cybercriminals.
Anatoly Legkodymov, 40, stands accused of having been involved in the exchange of hundreds of millions of dollars with various nefarious parties.
His arrest came on Wednesday, with the Justice Department confirming that the man was apprehended in connection with crypto exchange Bitzlato. Prosecutors have described the company as a “primary money laundering concern”.
Bitzlato is allegedly involved in the exchange of $700m in cryptocurrency funds with Hydra, an outlawed dark web chat room that connects criminals and offers anything for sale, from hacking tools to drugs.
French and European authorities have worked together with US and German counterparts to ensure that both Hydra and Bitzlato stop their operations. Hydra was shuttered in April 2022.
Legkodymov’s arrest was well timed as he resides in China but travelled to the US and Miami for unspecified reasons, where he was arrested. Authorities were tipped off and acted quickly.
Meanwhile, various enforcement agencies in the US law enforcement ecosystem are taking matters into their own hands, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation setting up a team of cryptocurrency experts that is focused on blockchain analysis and seizing digital money that resulted from ill gains.
Legkodymov is just one of many suspected crypto criminals in the US, authorities believe. Under the administration of Joe Biden, agencies have been keen to act and crack down on digital currency offenses.
It’s not just an antagonistic stand against crypto, officials have explained. According to deputy attorney general Lisa Monaco, because of the proliferation of crypto scams, there has been a “crisis of confidence” when it comes to cryptocurrency markets.
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