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    New Zealand freezes assets of Russian cybercriminal Alexander Vinnik

    A Russian cybercriminal, Alexander Vinnik, had his assets frozen by New Zealand police. This action was prompted due to the discovery of funds linked to Vinnik in local accounts.

    The New Zealand police and the U.S Internal Revenue Services are in cahoots on the case and are still carrying out investigations on the threat actor.

    The cybercriminal is currently standing trial in France for cryptocurrency-related money laundering schemes. Also, he is facing charges in other countries including, U.S., Russia, etc.

    The Greek Media outlet reported that the FBI tracked Alexander Vinnik for more than a year. The Greek police department arrested him back in September for involvement in money laundering. The victim was suspected to be involved in operating a BTC-e Bitcoin exchange. The laundering amounted to the sum of 4 billion U.S dollars in cryptocurrency.

    Since 2011, Vinnik’s BTC-e platform has seen an influx of 7 million bitcoin and an outflux of 5.5 million.

    In July 2017, he was charged with perpetrating criminal undertakings, which he saw to the laundering of 4 billion dollars worth of bitcoin. To this effect, the U.S prosecutors solicited his extradition.

    In a surprising turn of events, the Greek lower court acceded to extradite Vinnik to France; where he would face charges in extortion, money laundering, hacking, and participation in organized crime.

    The French authorities have accused Vinnik of defrauding at least 100 people in six different french cities between the years 2016 and 2018.

    Aside from individual swindling, Vinnik is responsible for shutting down the Japanese bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox. Mt. Gox, a forerunner before it shut down due to numerous cyber-attacks which cost the exchange platform $375 million in Bitcoin.

    On how he accomplished this feat, the U.S authorities believe he had an inside-man. He laundered the stolen funds over three years using his BTC-e platform service.

    Commissioner Andrew Foster stated, “these funds are likely to reflect the profit gained from the victimization of thousands; if not hundreds of thousands, of people globally as a result of cybercrime and organized crime. The global criminal community needs to understand New Zealand’s financial system, and companies established here, are not the places to try to hide illicit income.”



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