DoJ Seizes Crypto Company Bitzlato, Arrests Founder Legkodymov

• The US Department of Justice has taken global enforcement action against the crypto company Bitzlato, resulting in the arrest of its founder Anatoly Legkodymov.
• The DoJ has seized Bitzlato’s website and designated it as a “primary money laundering concern” linked to illicit Russian finance.
• FBI agents detained Legkodymov in Miami as part of a criminal case against Bitzlato for running a money transmission business that moved and transferred criminal monies and failed to meet US regulatory standards.

The US Department of Justice has announced a major global crypto enforcement action against the crypto company Bitzlato on January 18th, 2023. The DoJ has seized Bitzlato’s website and designated it as a “primary money laundering concern” linked to illicit Russian finance.

The DoJ has taken this action in coordination with French law enforcement and the Treasury Department, as part of a concerted effort across Europe and the United States. This enforcement operation was driven by the company being a “crucial financial resource” for the Hydra darknet marketplace, which allowed users to launder money from assaults like ransomware. It is estimated that Hydra Market customers transferred more than $700 million in bitcoin with Bitzlato, either directly or through middlemen, until it was shut down by German law enforcement and the US in April 2022. In addition, Bitzlato received more than $15 million in ransomware proceeds.

The DoJ has taken enforcement action against Bizlato in order to punish the company for running a money transmission business that moved and transferred criminal monies and failed to meet US regulatory standards. As part of this case against Bitzlato, FBI agents detained its founder, Anatoly Legkodymov, a Russian national residing in China, on January 17th in Miami. He will be charged with a crime in the Southern District of Florida’s US District Court.

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco commented on the enforcement action, “This enforcement action is part of our ongoing effort to disrupt and dismantle the financial networks that enable transnational organized crime. We are committed to holding accountable those who support and facilitate criminal activity and money laundering, no matter where they may be located.”