Authorities in Russia have arrested a crypto entrepreneur associated with an unidentified cryptocurrency exchange suspected of embezzling funds and property. According to a media report, the arrested person is one of the owners of Wex, the successor of the infamous BTC-e exchange.
Owner of Wex Exchange arrested in Russia
Russian law enforcement authorities have detained a man accused of stealing financial and other assets from a cryptocurrency exchange, the Interior Ministry (MVD) announced on Tuesday. The suspect allegedly controlled large amounts of cryptocurrency and their movement between wallets.
Investigators believe he may have withdrawn and appropriated some of the money. The person was handcuffed at the hotel of a private airport in the Serpukhov district of Moscow region with two suitcases containing 190 million Russian rubles in cash ($1.7 million), the press release said.
Officials from MVD, the Federal Security Service (FSB) and Russia’s financial watchdog Rosfinmonitoring carried out 29 searches at the homes of the detained and his accomplices in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Yalta. Another 50 million rubles, $1 million, €70,000, computer equipment, hardware crypto wallets, luxury goods and documents were seized.
While neither the detained person nor the exchange were named by authorities, crypto news channel Forklog quoted Indefibank CEO Sergey Mendeleev as claiming that the man is Aleksey Bilyuchenko, co-founder of Wex, once the largest crypto trading platform in Russia. launched in 2017 as successor to BTC-e. The latter closed its doors earlier that year after the arrest in Greece of one of the alleged operators, Alexander Vinnik.
Bilyuchenko’s ownership of Wex was revealed by the BBC. Another Russian, Dmitry Vasiliev, was the official owner of the fair. In September, the Polish press reported that Vasiliev had been arrested at Warsaw airport on August 11 and was awaiting extradition to Kazakhstan. In December, news broke that he had been released and returned to Russia.
In 2018, Wex was sold to Dmitry Khavchenko, a former fighter for Ukraine’s breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic, who subsequently registered the operator of the exchange, Singapore-based company World Exchange Services, under the name of his daughter, Daria. The stock market went bankrupt later that year. According to estimates by a group of Wex users, total losses exceed $400 million.
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Arrest, BTC-e, co-owner, Crypto, crypto exchange, crypto exchanges, Cryptocurrencies, Cryptocurrency, detention, Exchange, Exchanges, operator, owner, partner, Russia, Russian, Wex
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Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’ quote, “Being a writer is what I am, not what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.
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