Anatoly Legkodymov was recently arrested in Miami on account for his role in money laundering schemes. Legkodymov, who is the founder of the Hong Kong registered crypto exchange, is suspected to have had the knowledge that money laundering was present on the exchange, and allowed the activities to go on. Bitzlato became a money launder haven for criminals. Legkodymov is a 40 year old Russian man living in China. It is said that roughly $700 million worth of funds that went through the exchange were of illegal means.
Washington DC has had something to say about this news. US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, “Today’s actions send the clear message: whether you break our laws from China or Europe — or abuse our financial system from a tropical island — you can expect to answer for your crimes inside a United States courtroom,” Monaco stated.
The officials have said that this exchange not only knew about the suspicious transactions, but allowed known criminals to use the exchange, providing a means of transferring narcotics money and funds that came from selling stolen financial information.
An interesting comment that was made by Al Jazeera’s Alan Fischer, “This suggests that the Russian criminals wouldn’t be able to do business if the authorities in Russia, the government in Russia, didn’t allow them to do that. So they [US officials] believe that some of the money that is going through this exchange is also being used to help fund Russia’s war in Ukraine.”
Bitzlato’s largest partner for transactions was Hydra, an anonymous online marketplace on the “darknet” that was shut down by US and German authorities last year.
Legkodymov has been charged with “conducting an unlicensed money-transmitting business”. Yet he will only face a maximum penalty of five years in prison if convicted.