One Anatoly Legkodymov has been apprehended, and charged by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) for running a Chinese cryptocurrency exchange called Bitzlato that had reportedly processes over $700 million of illegal crypto funds for dark web thugs. This allegedly happened between 2018 and 2022. The body also accused Legkodymov of heading an illegal money transmitting business.
The DOJ notes that the culprit did not bother with KYC procedures, and was aggressive with the marketing practices of his platform. He promoted it as a “no-questions-asked” cryptocurrency exchange primarily to shady underground players and criminals. The DOJ said that the exchange got paid $15 million in ransomware proceeds alone.
By far Bitzlato’s most profitable and largest correspondent was the notorious Hydra Market, a Russian illegal online market for drugs, stolen financial details, fake IDs, money laundering services, and other similar prohibited activities and services. Hydra Market is the longest running dark web market in the world. The $700 million dollars were namely processed for Hydra users until the market was shut down in April of 2022.
The 40-year-old Anatoly Legkodymov, Russian born, was arrested on Tuesday in Miami by the FBI. The bureau noted that he is supposed to appear before a Florida court and could be sentenced to five years in prison.
The US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is also on the case, as are French, Spanish, Cypriot, and Portuguese authorities working with the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation. As a result, Bitzaldo has been terminated, its crypto assets seized.