Home CryptocurrencyBitcoin Europol reports $19.5 million in crypto seized in enforcement action against Bitzlat

Europol reports $19.5 million in crypto seized in enforcement action against Bitzlat

by SuperiorInvest

The European Union’s Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, or Europol, has announced that authorities have taken control of cryptocurrency wallets containing more than $19 million in cryptocurrency as part of an enforcement action against crypto firm Bitzlato.

In a notice dated January 23, Europol reported that roughly 46% of assets – €1 billion or $1.09 billion at the time of publication – moved through Bitzlato were linked to illegal activities. Analysis by a government agency indicated that Bitzlato received more than €2.1 billion in cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), dash (DASH) and dogecoin (DOGE), a large part of which was converted into Russian rubles.

“While converting crypto-assets into fiat currency is not illegal, investigations into cybercriminal operators have shown that large volumes of criminal assets have been passing through the platform,” Europol said. “The majority of suspicious transactions are linked to entities sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), others are linked to cyber fraud, money laundering, ransomware and child abuse material.

As part of the Cryptocurrency Law Enforcement Team’s actions, US authorities announced on January 18 they arrested Bitzlat founder Anatoly Legkodymov in Florida. Europol added that the operation, which involved the support of agencies in Belgium, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands, led to the arrest of 4 other people linked to the crypto exchange – 1 in Cyprus and 3 in Spain.

Related: Bitzlato kept a low profile, but didn’t go completely unnoticed before the DOJ action

In addition to the arrests, Europol announced that authorities seized wallets worth roughly 18 million euros, or $19.5 million, and froze more than 100 accounts on other crypto exchanges that controlled 50 million euros. US authorities have also been involved in efforts to seize Bitzlat’s servers, allegedly because it was a “primary interest in money laundering” associated with Russian illegal finance.

Legkodymov was reportedly charged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida following his arrest on January 18. It is unclear what charges, if any, his associates at Bitzlat may face in Europe.

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