US Government Indicts Two Russians For Mt. Gox Crypto Heist
The U.S. Justice Department has unsealed charges against two men for the most famous theft in the crypto sphere. It…
The U.S. Justice Department has unsealed charges against two men for the most famous theft in the crypto sphere. It indicted two Russian nationals, Alexey Bilyuchenko and Aleksandr Verner, for hacking the Mt. Gox. Bitcoin exchange and stealing roughly 647,000 Bitcoins (worth over $16bn at current prices).
The U.S. government also indicted Bilyuchenko for operating BTC-e, a crypto exchange it seized in 2014 for alleged money laundering. He was indicted for operating the exchange alongside Alexander Vinnik, whose charges were unsealed in July 2017.
- Mt. Gox was a Bitcoin exchange that operated from Japan. At its peak, it reportedly handled over 70% of Bitcoin transactions. The exchange suspended operations and filed for bankruptcy following a 2014 hack that drained customer funds.
According to the Justice Department, Bilyuchenko and Verner gained access to Mt. Gox’s crypto wallets in 2011 and transferred Bitcoins to wallets they controlled over the next three years. They allegedly transferred 647,000 Bitcoins, the majority of the funds lost by Mt. Gox customers, and laundered them through Bitcoin addresses they controlled at other exchanges, including BTC-e.
- As part of the alleged laundering, prosecutors say Bilyuchenko and Verner signed a fraudulent advertising contract with an unnamed New York-based Bitcoin broker. The broker transferred $6.6mn in fiat to foreign bank accounts the defendants controlled and received stolen Bitcoins in exchange.
Bilyuchenko was separately charged with operating BTC-e, an exchange the U.S. government accused of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoins for criminals. His co-conspirator, Vinnik, was indicted in 2017 and extradited to the U.S. in 2022 to face 21 criminal counts. He remains in detention awaiting trial.