Late last week, Alexander Vinnik, a Russian citizen, was extradited from Greece to France on charges including extortion and aggravated money laundering arising from his operation of BTC-e, a cryptocurrency exchange alleged to have helped criminals launder billions of dollars. Vinnik was arrested in Greece in 2017 and was held there while France, Russia and the U.S. fought over which country should try him first. Vinnick's lawyers said that after the proceeding concludes in France, he will be extradited back to Greece and then sent to the U.S. to face similar charges. According to reports, Vinnik has been on a hunger strike to protest his detention and maintains that he is innocent and being persecuted for posing a threat to the international banking system.
Earlier this month, the U.K. High Court of Justice froze 96 bitcoins on Bitfinex due to alleged connections to a ransomware scheme. An unnamed company's computers had been hijacked by ransomware, and the company's insurer ultimately paid the cybercriminals 96 BTC. That insurer then hired Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics company, to track the bitcoin, which were ultimately traced to an address on the Bitfinex platform. In addition to freezing the cryptocurrency, the court demanded that Bitfinex provide information about the account holder. The case remains ongoing.
Last week, the Bitcoin Gold (BTG) blockchain reportedly fell victim to a 51% attack. During this type of attack, a single entity gains control over half of the network's mining hashrate (computing power) and can then reverse prior transactions, enabling the attacker to double-spend the coins. More than $70,000 of BTG was double-spent in this particular attack. Other types of cybercrimes are detailed in Chainalysis' 2020 report, out this month, which provides an overview of crypto crime activity that has occurred over the past year. Focuses of the report include money laundering, ransomware, terrorism financing and darknet markets. The report concludes: "Crypto crime will likely continue to evolve in both scope and technological sophistication, just like cryptocurrency itself."
For more information, please refer to the following links:
- Russian Bitcoin Suspect Charged in France After Greek Extradition
- France Charges Alleged BTC-e Operator Alexander Vinnik Following Greek Extradition
- British Court Freezes $860,000 in Bitcoin Linked to Ransomware Payout
- UK High Court Orders Freeze on $1M of Bitcoin in Ransomware Case
- Bitcoin Gold Blockchain Hit by 51% Attack Leading to $70K Double Spend
- Chainalysis: THE 2020 STATE OF CRYPTO CRIME
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