Two Russian nationals have been charged with the hack of the cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox in 2011 and money laundering.
Russian nationals Alexey Bilyuchenko (43) and Aleksandr Verner (29) have been charged with the hack of the cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox in 2011 and the operation of the illicit cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e.
The duo has been charged with conspiring to launder approximately 647,000 bitcoins stolen from Mt. Gox. Bilyuchenko is also charged with conspiring with Alexander Vinnik to run the virtual currency exchange BTC-e from 2011 to 2017.
The BTC-e virtual currency is popular in the cybercrime underground because it was used by crooks to launder funds for illegal activities.
According to court documents unsealed in the Southern District of New York (SDNY), in or about September 2011, the two men and their co-conspirators gained access to the server in Japan holding the cryptocurrency wallets for Mt. Gox. Then the attackers transferred funds from Mt. Gox’s wallets to bitcoin addresses under their control.
The duo, along with their accomplices, engaged in the process of laundering the stolen bitcoins through diverse methods. They also used Bitcoin addresses associated with their accounts on two other Bitcoin exchanges
The two Russian nations also used a Bitcoin brokerage service known as the New York Bitcoin Broker to transfer large amounts of funds to overseas bank accounts between March 2012 and April 2013 under the guise of an advertising services contract.
“In furtherance of the money laundering scheme, in or about April 2012, Bilyuchenko, Verner, and their co-conspirators allegedly negotiated and entered into a fraudulent contract (the “Advertising Contract”) to provide purported advertising services to a Bitcoin brokerage service based in the Southern District of New York (the “New York Bitcoin Broker”).” reads the DoJ. “Under the guise of the Advertising Contract, in order to conceal and liquidate the bitcoins stolen from Mt. Gox, Bilyuchenko and Verner allegedly made regular requests to the owner and operator of the New York Bitcoin Broker to make large wire transfers into various offshore bank accounts, including in the names of shell corporations, controlled by Bilyuchenko, Verner, and their co-conspirators. In accordance with these requests, between in or about March 2012 and in or about April 2013, the New York Bitcoin Broker allegedly transferred more than approximately $6.6 million to overseas bank accounts controlled by Bilyuchenko, Verner, and their co-conspirators.”
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