Bitzlato Co-founder Plans Guilty Plea in US Amidst Exchange Seizure

Bitzlato Co-founder Plans Guilty Plea in US Amidst Exchange Seizure
Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate. (Image Source: CryptoSlate)
Key Highlights
  • Bitzlato Co-Founder Faces Guilty Plea in U.S. Court: Anatoly Legkodymov, co-founder of Bitzlato, is expected to plead guilty in a U.S. court, accused of processing $700 million in illicit funds.
  • Cryptocurrency Exchange Bitzlato Linked to Illegal Activities: Legkodymov is charged with operating Bitzlato as an unlicensed money exchange business, exchanging large sums of cryptocurrency with Hydra Market, known for illegal activities.
  • International Law Enforcement Seizes Bitzlato’s Services: Bitzlato’s website now displays a notice stating that the service has been seized by French authorities as part of a coordinated international law enforcement action.
  • U.S. Continues Cryptocurrency Crackdown: The anticipated guilty plea is part of the U.S. government’s broader crackdown on fraud and illicit finance in cryptocurrency markets, following recent convictions and settlements involving major platforms like FTX and Binance.

The co-founder of Bitzlato, a virtual currency exchange registered in Hong Kong, is expected to plead guilty in a U.S. court on Wednesday. Anatoly Legkodymov, a Russian national and majority owner of Bitzlato, is accused by U.S. authorities of processing around $700 million in illicit funds. Legkodymov, who ran Bitzlato from Shenzhen, China, was arrested in Miami and has been held in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn since January 17. He is charged with operating Bitzlato as an unlicensed money exchange business, exchanging hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency with Hydra Market, known for illegal activities.

Cryptocurrency Crackdown Continues with Bitzlato Co-Founder’s Expected Guilty Plea

Bitzlato’s website now carries a notice stating that the service has been seized by French authorities as part of an international law enforcement operation. The guilty plea is seen as a success in the U.S. government’s efforts to combat fraud and illicit finance in the cryptocurrency markets. The crackdown also includes recent convictions of individuals associated with FTX and Binance, with significant settlements and guilty pleas.

Bitzlato’s top counterparty, Binance, was mentioned by U.S. authorities. The Russian embassy in Washington previously called for Legkodymov’s release, and Russia rejected a U.S. proposal to release detained individuals, including Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich. The U.S. State Department reported that Russia declined the release proposal for Gershkovich and another American, Paul Whelan, both considered to be wrongfully detained in Russia.

Read Original Article on Reuters