• Bitzlato Co-Founder Anton Shkurenko has been arrested in Russia by the request of Interpol.
• The arrest was due to suspicions of extortion, data theft, and money laundering from French investigators.
• Bitzlato is a Hong Kong-registered exchange that processed over $700 million in illicit funds.
Bitzlato Co-Founder Arrested
Russian authorities have reportedly arrested the second co-founder of seized cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato, Anton Shkurenko. The man was detained at the request of Interpol and may face extradition to France due to suspicions of extortion, data theft, and money laundering.
Background Information on Bitzlato
Bitzlato is a Hong Kong-registered exchange which was established in 2017 by Shkurenko and his partner Anatoly Legkodymov. Before launching as an exchange it operated as a trading bot called BTC Banker which facilitated peer-to-peer transactions. It is said to have processed over $700 million in illicit funds received from criminal entities like Hydra and Finiko darknet market and Russian crypto pyramid respectively.
Arrests Related To Bitzlato
Legkodymov was arrested by U.S authorities in Miami last month while other three executives — CEO, financial director, marketing director — and a system administrator were detained in Spain and Cyprus by Europol authorities last month. Moreover, French law enforcement authority took control of its website and servers following further investigations into allegations that criminal proceeds from ransomware attacks, hacks scams, extortions passed through Bitzlato with Binance transferring cryptocurrency worth nearly $346 million for the platform according to Chainalysis blockchain analytics firm data.
Shkurenko Plans To Relaunch Exchange In Russia
The news of his arrest comes after last week he said in an interview with a crypto Youtube channel that Bitzlato’s remaining team intends to relocate the business to Russia and relaunch operations including withdrawals. Although there are no details available yet regarding how this plan will unfold if it does at all given current circumstances or whether any part of it can be implemented without being monitored closely by Russian authorities remains unclear yet as well as what regulations will be set forth for such an endeavour if any at all.
Extradition Decision Pending
It is yet unknown whether Russian authorities decide to extradite Anton Shkurenko or not but it appears inevitable at this point since they already cooperated with Interpol’s arrest request instead of blocking it off entirely or attempting to investigate further domestically only.
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