Alexander Vinnik, a Russian national, 38, suspect of being the anonymous mastermind behind one of the world’s oldest crypto-currency exchanges and of laundering around $4 billion was arrested after a tip-off from a small beachside village in northern Greece on a U.S. warrant.
Vinnik was running the criminal organisation by administering one of the most important websites of electronic crime in the world. The site went offline since late Tuesday, reporting technical problems.
At least $4 billion in cash has been laundered through the Bitcoin platform according to the police. Since BTC-e’s inception in 2011, 7 million bitcoins deposited and 5.5 million bitcoins in withdrawals have been laundered.
Vennik’s arrest is another attempt of the U.S. Justice Department in its series of operations against Russian cyber criminals in Europe. The crackdown on the Russian hackers came after the U.S. intelligence officials accused Moscow of hacking U.S. presidential election to edge Donald Trump’s chances, which Russia denies.
No suggestions of Vennik’s case connection the U.S. hacking charges were made.
BTC-e, founded in 2011 was one of the oldest and most ambiguous virtual currency exchange, allowing anonymous trade of Bitcoin against fiat currencies like U.S. dollars and other virtual currencies. People behind it remained unknown until today.