Cryptocurrency serves a number of purposes such as enabling individuals to pay for goods and services seamlessly around the globe, the easy transfer of funds and has been used by countries as a means to combat inflation or simply keep up with technological innovations. They are, however, other malicious purposes that cryptocurrency can be used for as North Korea has been repeatedly accused of stealing cryptocurrency to fund their nuclear weapons program and cryptocurrency has, in the past, been tied to a number of crimes particularly on the dark web.
According to a new BBC report from November 15, 2019, $450 million worth of cryptocurrency that was lost from WEX, a now-defunct crypto exchange, has been connected to Russian intelligence agency the Federal Security Bureau (FSB).
Lost and Found
This was uncovered during an investigation by the BBC into the BTC E- Crypto exchange case in which its cofounder Alexander Vinnik is been accused of laundering up to $4 billion and the investigation has uncovered that some of the missing money from the WEX exchange can be linked to the Russian agency.
This comes via an audio file that was obtained by the BBC which features a person called Anton, who is believed to be Anton Nemkin — with Aleksey Bilyuchenko, a co-founder of BTC-e, and Konstantin Malofeyev, who facilitated the sale of WEX, which is a now-defunct spin-off of the initially BTC E-crypto exchange.
During a business meeting in 2018, Anton reportedly told Bilyuchenko to handover the cold wallets of the exchange to him. After this took place, he was delivered to an FSB apartment in Moscow where officers interrogated him about the WEX dealings.
Following the interrogation, Anton then demanded that Bilyuchenko hand over the cryptocurrency stored in the hard wallet and said that he would turn it over to a fund connected with the FSB which Bilyuchenko agreed to. The funds in question are believed to be worth roughly $450 million.
Dmitri Vasilyev, the CEO of WEX, was arrested in July 2019 and then in April, he was under the investigation f for reportedly trying to defraud an investor of $20,000. In the same month, a case was opened against BTC E-crypto by the United States authorities.