Anatoly Legkodymov, founder of Bitzlato, pleads guilty to running a crypto exchange that facilitated illegal financial activities.
The charges against Bitzlato highlight its significant role in enabling dark market transactions, particularly due to insufficient regulatory measures.
Founder of Crypto Exchange Manages Millions in Unlawful Funds
Legkodymov acknowledges Bitzlato’s operation, which became a hub for criminals seeking a platform for their illicit dealings.
Marketed for its minimal identity checks, Bitzlato lacked proper know-your-customer (KYC) protocols, making it a haven for criminal activities.
A key revelation is Bitzlato’s association with Hydra Market, a notorious online hub for narcotics, stolen financial data, fake IDs, and money laundering services.
Cryptocurrency transactions exceeding $700 million with Bitzlato positioned it as a major player in the darknet market until Hydra’s closure in April 2022.
Officials Allege Legkodymov Ignored Illegal Activities
Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco underscores the U.S. government’s dedication to combating crypto-related crimes.
She references the recent dismantling of Bitzlato’s operations and the confiscation of its assets as a part of these efforts.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) characterises Bitzlato’s approach as a “no questions asked” clearinghouse. This attitude allegedly allowed criminals to exploit the exchange’s relaxed controls, leading to its downfall.
The case against Bitzlato is a joint effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), a unit focused on tackling illegal cryptocurrency usage.