Two Russian individuals, Alexey Bilyuchenko and Aleksandr Verner, have been charged in connection with the 2011 hacking incident involving Mt. Gox, a well-known Bitcoin exchange at the time.
Bilyuchenko and Verner are accused of participating in a plot to launder money.
According to court records, due to their involvement in the Mt. Gox breach, two Russian citizens, Alexey Bilyuchenko, 43, and Aleksandr Verner, 29, have been charged with conspiring to launder almost 647,000 bitcoins.
Additionally, Bilyuchenko is accused of colluding with Alexander Vinnik to run BTC-e from 2011 until 2017. The accusations draw attention to the suspected interconnections between the defendants and the illegal activities that were taking place around the well-known Bitcoin exchange and cryptocurrency platform.
“According to the accusations in the charges, beginning in 2011, Bilyuchenko and Verner stole a substantial quantity of bitcoin from Mt. Gox, ultimately causing the exchange to go bankrupt. Bilyuchenko is accused of using his illegally obtained Mt. Gox profits to help build the infamous BTC-e virtual currency exchange, which served as a global money laundering front for cybercriminals,” stated Kenneth A. Polite Jr., assistant attorney general, Criminal Division, U.S. Justice Department.
Bilyuchenko, Aleksandr Verner, and others are allegedly accused of obtaining unauthorized access to the server that hosted Mt. Gox’s crypto wallets, according to court records that have just been made public in the Southern District of New York. At the time, Mt. Gox was the biggest Bitcoin exchange and had a large international user base.
The wallets held the customer’s bitcoins as well as the private keys required for cryptocurrency transfers.
In April 2012, Alexey Bilyuchenko, Aleksandr Verner, and their associates were accused of participating in fraudulent operations with an advertising contract as part of their money laundering plan.
Following the deal, a Bitcoin brokerage service in the Southern District of New York was supposed to get advertising support.
Bilyuchenko and Verner are accused of requesting the owner and manager of the New York Bitcoin broker initiate significant wire transactions into offshore bank accounts, including those owned by shell companies under the defendants’ control.
The complex plan was designed to hide and exchange the bitcoins that had been stolen in connection with the Mt. Gox hacking.
One of the first significant Bitcoin exchanges was Mt. Gox. In March 2014, it declared bankruptcy, claiming that the assault had driven the company into insolvency.
BTC-e was active between 2011 and 2017. The FBI sold off part of the exchange’s cryptocurrencies in 2017 after alleging that the money had been obtained through money laundering. Alexander Vinnik, the creator of BTC-e, is presently incarcerated for his involvement in the exchange. Vinnik’s lawyer tried to negotiate his release as part of a prisoner exchange with the Russian Federation in May.