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US Department of Justice Takes Action Against Bitzlato, Arrests CoFounder

by BSC News

January 18, 2023

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The DOJ severed the connection between Bitzlato and the dark web marketplace, Hydra, effectively ending the conduit for illegal cyber transactions.

US DOJ Files Charges against Bitzlato

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) unveiled charges that include money laundering and ransomware attacks against Bitzlato after arresting the Hong Kong-registered exchange’s founder, Anatoly Legkodymov, in Miami on Tuesday, January 17.

The DOJ held a press conference on January 18, 2022, after 12:00 noon EST to announce charges against Legkodymov and Bitzlato. The DOJ confirmed that Bitzlato’s connection to the dark web marketplace Hydra is responsible for facilitating millions of dollars of criminal transactions and helping create a safe haven for criminal activity across the globe.

Lisa Monaco, Deputy Attorney General of the United States, called the move one of the “most significant” efforts achieved by the recently created Cybercrime Taskforce. Monaco emphasized that the investigation into Bitzlato was the culmination of efforts through her office and represents the commitment to capture cybercriminals who engage in illicit activities around the globe, seemingly outside the purview of US jurisdiction.

The DOJ confirmed that Bitzlato facilitated a customer base that predominantly operated from Russia, potentially as a way to evade sanctions and foster an environment that encourages cybercrime to disrupt international order. The DOJ confirmed that there is no limit to the vigilance of US officials or its partners.

Along with the help of European agencies, US officials seized the servers of Bitzlato, effectively cutting off access to the Hydra marketplace to complete transactions. Bitzlato allowed users to access their exchange with minimal identification registration making it a crucial conduit for criminal activity.

US DOJ official made a clear statement to the world of illicit cybercrime, saying that Legkodymov, the “founder and senior executive, is in handcuffs in the United States.”

Before adding: “We are just getting started."

The DOJ confirmed that additional charges could be filed against Legkodymov and Bitzlato.

To watch the full press conference, see the DOJ website link.

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