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The proprietor of the cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato, Anatoly Legkodymov, intends to enter a guilty plea and reach a settlement with the law enforcement.
Legkodymov plans to reach a plea deal with the prosecutors after being detained in the US in January. “Baza” cited court records in his report to provide this information.
Bitzlato, a cryptocurrency exchange platform, is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for allegedly aiding criminals in laundering $715 million in illicit funds obtained through various fraudulent activities such as scams, hacks, ransomware, and other similar schemes.
The founder of Bitzlato, Legkodymov, is accused of deliberately allowing such operations to occur on the platform, turning a blind eye to suspicious transactions and failing to implement necessary user verification measures.
Evidence suggests that Legkodymov was aware of the illegal source of funds and referred to users as scammers with fake documents in conversations. Additionally, the exchange’s team warned him that the client base included drug dealers and darknet drug market customers such as “Hydra.”
There are also speculations that Legkodymov’s visit to the United States may have been part of a deal with the FBI. While he faces a maximum of five years in prison for all charges, if he pleads guilty and cooperates with the investigation, the case may not proceed to trial.
Overall, the allegations against Bitzlato and its founder highlight the risks associated with cryptocurrency exchanges and the importance of implementing effective measures to prevent money laundering and other illicit activities in the industry.
What’s Happening Now
Bitzlato has faced legal troubles in recent months. In January, the US Department of Justice shut down the trading platform as part of law enforcement actions. The international block was explained by the service’s involvement in illegal transactions related to Russia.
One of Bitzlato’s co-founders, Anton Shkurenko, denied these allegations and claimed that the company conducted its business honestly. In particular, the platform always strived to comply with verification requirements and anti-money laundering laws, and also cooperated with law enforcement to prevent illegal activity.
In early March, after the platform’s infrastructure was seized by the French prosecutor’s office, Bitzlato customers began to withdraw their money. They were unable to access their funds for 42 days.