DOJ charges two Russian nationals in 2011 crypto hack
Alexey Bilyuchenko, 43, and Aleksandr Verner, 29, face charges of conspiring to launder 647,000 bitcoins taken from the Mt. Gox. exchange.
The Department of Justice on Friday announced charges against two Russian nationals stemming from the 2011 hack of the Mt. Gox cryptocurrency exchange and the operation of BTC-e.
Alexey Bilyuchenko, 43, and Aleksandr Verner, 29, face charges of conspiring to launder 647,000 bitcoins taken from the Mt. Gox. exchange. Indicted in the Southern District of New York, the pair hacked the exchange, then the largest in existence, and transferred bitcoins to digital wallets in their control. They then laundered much of the money by entering into a fraudulent advertising contract with a New York-based Bitcoin broker. Both face conspiracy to commit money laundering charges.
Bilyuchenko faces separate charges in the Northern District of California of money laundering conspiracy and operating an unlicensed money services business. He separate worked with another individual, Alexander Vinnik, to operate the illicit cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e from 2011-2017.
That exchange also ranked among the largest exchanges in the world and was a hub of digital criminal activity. Authorities shut it down in 2017.
Authorities celebrated the indictment, with Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. saying it "marks an important milestone in two major cryptocurrency investigations."
"As alleged in the indictments, starting in 2011, Bilyuchenko and Verner stole a massive amount of cryptocurrency from Mt. Gox, contributing to the exchange’s ultimate insolvency," he continued. "Armed with the ill-gotten gains from Mt. Gox, Bilyuchenko allegedly went on to help set up the notorious BTC-e virtual currency exchange, which laundered funds for cyber criminals worldwide."
Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.