Europol Seizes Crypto Worth Over $19.5 Million in Action Against Crypto Exchange Bitzlato

  • Europol has reportedly seized custody of crypto wallets containing more than $18 million in cryptocurrency as part of enforcement measures against crypto business Bitzlato.
  • The EU Agency reported that officials had frozen more than 100 accounts at other cryptocurrency exchanges totaling over €50 million.
  • U.S. authorities on January 18 said they had detained Anatoly Legkodymov, the founder of Bitzlato, as part of an operation by a cryptocurrency-focused enforcement team.

The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, or Europol, announced Monday it had seized crypto wallets worth about €18 million ($19.5 million) in cryptocurrency, vehicles, and electronic equipment in an action against Hong Kong-registered crypto exchange platform Bitzlato.

“Targeting crucial crime facilitators such as crypto exchanges is becoming a key priority in the battle against cybercrime,” the EU agency said in a statement.

In a Jan 23 announcement, the agency reported over €1 Billion Euro moved through the cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato was linked to illicit activities, a whopping 46% of the platform’s total volume. The agency’s analysis revealed that Bitzlato received more than €2.1 Billion Euro in cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Dash, and Dogecoin, most of which were converted to Russian rubles.

“While the conversions of crypto-assets into fiat currencies is not illegal, investigations into cybercriminal operators indicated that large volumes of criminal assets were going through the platform,” added Europol. “The majority of suspicious transactions are linked to entities sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), with others linked to cyber scams, money laundering, ransomware, and child abuse material.”

An EU agency with support from other agencies in Belgium, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands declared it has arrested four individuals connected to the exchange so far, searched eight houses and taken down digital infrastructure for further investigation.

Last week US Authorities also made an announcement that they had detained Anatoly Legkodymov, founder of the cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato, as part of their operations by a cryptocurrency-focused enforcement team.

In addition to the arrest and raids, Europol informed that authorities had seized wallets worth roughly €18 million ($19.5 million), and frozen more than 100 accounts involving a total of €50 million.

Legkodymov was allegedly presented in court on January 18 after being arrested in the Southern District of Florida. It is still unclear if his Bitzlato colleagues will be charged with any crime in Europe.