The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has accused two Russian nationals of hacking and hacking the anonymous crypto exchange Mt. Gox is suing them for their involvement.
The DOJ said in a new press release that it is charging two Russian nationals — 43-year-old Alexei Belichenko and 29-year-old Alexander Werner — with money laundering involving hundreds of thousands of bitcoins (BTC) stolen from Mt. Gox
In addition, Bilyuchenko is accused of conspiring with founder Alexander Vinnik from 2011 to 2017 to operate BTC-e, which was allegedly linked to money laundering and the Mt Gox hack.
Damian Williams, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a press release;
“As cybercriminals have become more sophisticated in their methods of theft, our professional prosecutors and law enforcement partners have also become experts in the latest technologies being exploited for malicious purposes.
As accused, Aleksey Belichenko and Alexander Werner used sophisticated hacks to steal and use a novel technology called cryptocurrency to give us an edge over the law, but the unsealed indictment shows our ability to doggedly pursue these criminals. That’s how complicated their plot is until they’re brought to justice.
The court documents show that from September 2011 to May 2014, Belyuchenko, Werner and their associates of Mt. Gox wallets, which was the largest BTC exchange in the world at the time. They allegedly transferred 647,000 BTC from the platform to a wallet they controlled.
With BTC trading at $26,542 at the time of writing, that’s a total value of the crypto king of around $17.17 billion.
According to the press release, the defendants executed fraudulent advertising contracts in an attempt to misrepresent the stolen BTC as legitimate.
“In order to hide and release the bitcoins stolen from Mount Gox in the name of the advertising contract, Belychenko and Werner allegedly made regular requests to the owner and operator of a New York bitcoin brokerage to make large transfers to various offshore banks. Accounts including the names of shell corporations controlled by Belychenko, Werner and their co-conspirators.
If convicted, both Belichenko and Werner face decades in prison.
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