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Source: Сointеlеgrаph

The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, or Europol, said authorities have taken control of crypto wallets containing more than $19 million worth of cryptocurrencies as part of an enforcement action against crypto firm Bitzlato.

In a Jan. 23 statement, Europol said that approximately 46% of the assets – 1 billion euros, or $1.09 billion at the time of publication – moved through Bitzlato were related to illegal activities. An analysis by the government agency showed that Bitzlato received more than 2.1 billion euros in cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Dash (DASH) and Dogecoin (DOGE), most of which was converted into Russian rubles.

“Although it is not illegal to convert crypto assets to fiat currencies, investigations into cybercriminal operators have shown that large amounts of criminal assets are moving through the platform,” Europol said. “Most of the suspicious transactions involve entities under Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions, while others involve cyber fraud, money laundering, ransomware and child abuse material.”

As part of the actions of a cryptocurrency-focused law enforcement group, US authorities announced on January 18 the arrest of Bitzlato founder Anatoly Legkodymov in Florida. Europol added that the operation, which involved agencies in Belgium, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands, led to the arrest of 4 more people associated with the crypto exchange – 1 in Cyprus and 3 in Spain.

Related: Bitzlato kept a low profile but didn’t go unnoticed ahead of the DOJ action.

In addition to the arrests, Europol said authorities confiscated about €18 million worth of wallets or $19.5 million and froze more than 100 accounts on other crypto exchanges that controlled €50 million. US authorities have also been involved in attempts to take over Bitzlato’s servers, allegedly a “master money laundering facility” linked to Russia’s illicit finances.

Legkodymov reportedly appeared before the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida on January 18 following his arrest. It is unclear what charges could be brought against his Bitzlato associates in Europe.

Source: Сointеlеgrаph

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