2022 has been a terrible year for cryptocurrencies. Between scams, ransomware and exchange failures, the losses have been colossal. Law enforcement is mobilizing to try to stop the robbery and 2023 should be littered with arrests. This time it’s the turn of Anatoly Legkodymov, managing director of Bitzlao, a sulphurous exchange that pays little attention to‘identity of its users.
The year 2023 promises to be difficult for crypto scammers: it began with the arrest of the Frenchman Aurélien Michel in New York. The discovery of the incredible financial shenanigans of SBF, which certainly still holds surprises, has rather annoyed the authorities. At the press conference following the indictment ofAnatoly LegkodymovDeputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco even said it would be pointless to think you were safe on a “tropical island.” The Bahamas?
Bitzlato: the peer-to-peer exchange without KYC
bitzlato was created in 2015 and KYC has always been non-existent. It is therefore in the most complete anonymity that users could carry out their illicit transactions, especially on the Hydra marketplace. The servers of this gigantic marketplace were based in Germany, where they were seized in April 2022, together with a database of 17 million customers And 19,000 seller accounts ! Its turnover was estimated at 1.23 billion euros for 2020 alone. 543 bitcoins were also seized.
Bitzlato and Hydra Market
According to investigators, more than $700 million in cryptocurrencies have passed through bitzlato And Hydra Marketdirectly or through intermediaries. According to internal documents, Anatoly Legkodymov he knew full well that his users used his exchange for traffic of all kinds. Since May 2018, Bitzlato would have seen a good 4.58 billion dollars in transit.
Customers from all countries
According to the site, visible in the web archives, bitzlato it was active in 69 countries. Despite strict US laws, many Americans were connecting to it: In July 2022 alone, the site reportedly received 250 million visitors whose IP addresses were expected to come from US soil. Legkodymov, known as Anatolii Legkodymov, Gandalf or Tolik, also administered himself bitzlato from Miami in 2022 and 2023, without any difficulty. He faces a 5-year sentence for illegal transfer of funds, but perhaps other charges will be brought against him.
Full details on the US Department of Justice website. If you understand English, listen to the US Department of Justice’s declaration of war against cryptocurrency scammers (and other actors who facilitate crimes).
The arrest of Anatoly Legkodymov could only take place thanks to the international cooperation of law enforcement agencies. The ever-increasing frauds have a serious impact on individuals, but also on private or public institutions. Make no mistake, if there is crypto fraud, there is also complicity between bank partners with a storefront. We are not at the end of our surprises…
Receive a round-up of the news in the world of cryptocurrencies by subscribing to our new servicedaily and weekly so you don’t miss any of the indispensable Cointribunes!
Subprime, financial crises, runaway inflation, tax havens… Bitcoin was designed for greater transparency and maybe it will finally change the game. I try to understand this new environment and try to explain it to myself. The road is undoubtedly long, but it is worth it.