In Miami, a Russian businessman, the owner of the Bitzlato crypto exchange based in Hong Kong, Anatoly Legkodymov, was detained . He is accused of being involved in money laundering while working in the US without a license. It is alleged that illegal transactions totaling $700 million went through Bitzlato.
“Today, the Department of Justice dealt a major blow to the cryptocrime ecosystem. <...> Today's events send a clear signal: whether you are violating our laws from China or Europe, or abusing our financial system from a tropical island, you should be prepared to answer for your crimes in the courtroom of the United States, ”said the federal prosecutor Lisa Monaco.
The Ministry of Justice said in a statement that Bitzlato's largest counterparty was the Russian darknet market and the site for the sale of surfactants Hydra. It is alleged that Legkodymov knew that Bitzlato's customer base consisted of people who use drugs and drug dealers. In addition, according to the Ministry of Justice, one of the top managers of the crypto exchange stressed that the fight against them should be “nominal”, since they bring profit to the company. The marketing director of the company described Bitzlato as follows: “Pros: no KYC <know your customer - user verification system - approx. The Insider>. Cons: Dirty money.
The US Department of Justice also emphasizes that simultaneously with the arrest of Legkodymov, the French authorities, in cooperation with Europol, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus, dismantled the Bitzlato digital infrastructure.
In April 2022, a month after the start of the war, the US Treasury imposed sanctions against Hydra. The site's transactions, as well as its property located in the United States or under their control, were blocked.