The U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, along with the Southern District of New York and the Northern District of California, has filed charges against two Russian nationals in connection with the hacking of Mt Gox and the subsequent theft of BTC from the exchange. Charges against Alexey Bilyuchenko and Aleksandr Verner were unsealed earlier today.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the case against the two Russian nationals has been divided into two, namely, the SDNY case and the NDCA case. As per the allegations in the indictment unsealed in the Southern District of New York, the two Russians and their accomplices gained unauthorized access to Mt Gox’s servers in 2011. This was followed by fraudulent transactions where BTC was transferred to wallets controlled by Verner and Bilyuchenko.
The illegal transfers took place between September 2011 and May 2014, during which the Russians along with their accomplices, transferred at least 647,000 BTC out of Mt Gox. As per today’s rates, the stolen BTC would be valued at $17 billion. The Russians managed to launder more than 300,000 BTC through a New York-based Bitcoin Broker. As per the allegations in the indictment unsealed in the Northern District of California, Bilyuchenko worked with Alexander Vinnik and other accomplices to run an illegal Bitcoin exchange between 2011 and 2017.
These indictments highlight the department’s unwavering commitment to bring to justice bad actors in the cryptocurrency ecosystem and prevent the abuse of the financial system.”Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr.
In the SDNY case, both Russian nationals have been charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The NDCA charged Bilyuchenko with conspiracy to commit money laundering and operating an unlicensed money services business, which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.