U.S. Justice Department Releases International Cryptocurrency Action -Statement

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The U.S. Justice Department is set to announce a significant international cryptocurrency enforcement action on Wednesday 18th of January 2023. The U.S. Treasury Department will also make cryptocurrency announcements on the same day.

The Official Statement from the U.S. Justice Department

An official statement from the U.S. Justice Department detailed that U.S. officials such as Deputy U.S. Attorney General Lisa Monaco and Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo will make the announcements at noon (1700 GMT) in Washington. Other officials that will be present include the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York and the associate deputy director of the FBI.

The Treasury associates have refrained from giving more details on this announcement. 

The U.S. Justice Department, led by its deputy attorney, announced a press conference following the arrest of Anatoly Legkodymov, owner and founder of Bitlazo, a Hong Kong-registered cryptocurrency exchange. 

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced that the Justice Department is working to put exploiters of the cryptocurrency ecosystem on notice that the Department of Justice will use it in every possible way. The department will work with its partners to reduce the illegal use of the dark web and cryptocurrency. The justice department also pointed out that they are taking all the necessary steps to address the crisis of cryptocurrency markets where criminals operate beyond the reach of law enforcement.

The Root

The U.S. Justice Department called a press conference after the arrest of Anatoly Legkodymov. Legkodymov was charged with illegal transmission of more than $700 million, breaking American money laundering laws, allowing drug lords to traffic drugs, and stealing people’s identities and money. All these noted atrocities were done on Bitlazo, a Hong Kong-registered cryptocurrency exchange under the watch of Legkodymov and other firm executives.

Bitlazo was not operating alone but partnered with Hydra Market, an anonymous, unlawful online marketplace for money laundering services, illegal drugs, stolen financial and personal information, and fraudulent identification documents. However, German and U.S. law enforcement worked together to bring down Hydra Market in April 2022. 

The arrest of Legkodymov is a big blow to the cryptocurrency crime ecosystem. The occurrence has also activated a series of directions from major security bodies, each vowing to do their best to protect the American and international cryptocurrency and finance markets. 

Unlawful transactions on Bitlazo were enabled as there were minimum personal identification details from the platform users. The users could use the company’s customer service portal to request support for transactions with Hydra Market.

Anatoly Legkodymov, however, defended himself and his firm by stating that they disapprove of American users on the platform. Additionally, Legkodymov claimed that Bitlazo customer care urged their users to transfer funds from American banks and financial institutions.

The defendant remains innocent until proven guilty. Legkodymov faces a maximum of 5 years in prison if convicted of illegal money transactions. Bitzlato’s digital infrastructure has been brought down by the French authorities, working with Europol and other partners.

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