Sources including WizSecurity, bitcoin journalist Kyle Torpey and bitcoin pioneer Charlie Shrem have revealed that a Russian man arrested by Greek authorities for laundering $4 billion through bitcoin exchange BTC-E, is the chief suspect in the Mt. Gox theft which led to a total loss of $2.21 billion.
WizSecurity, the original source referred by Kyle Torpey, bitcoin analyst Tuur Demeester and Coindesk, has stated that it is planning on delivering an announcement in regard to the link between BTC-E and Mt. Gox.
Arrested: Russian operator of long standing BTC-E BTC exchange, accused of +$4bn launder. Rumor that BTC-E hacked MtGox. Has WizSec answers? https://t.co/UAd6BQOJab
— Tuur Demeester (@TuurDemeester) July 26, 2017
“We won’t beat around the bush with it: Vinnik is our chief suspect for involvement in the MtGox theft (or the laundering of the proceeds thereof). This is the result of years of patient work, and these findings were surely independently uncovered by other investigators as well. Everyone who worked on the case have patiently kept quiet while forwarding findings to law enforcement, so as not to tip suspects off and to maximize the chances of arrests,” WizSecurity said in an official announcement.
Over the past few years, WizSec has utilized tools to trace clustered addresses. WizSec traced Mt. Gox transactions to the online identity WME, which BTC-E publicly vouched for in the past. WME is also suspected to be involved in the Bitcoinica hack, which also led to the loss of large amounts of bitcoin. WizSec has traced down Alexander Vinnick as the main money launderer behind the Mt. Gox heist and as WME, not the hacker.
If BTC-E did hack into Mt. Gox and stole billions of dollars worth of bitcoin from their users, it will finally lead to closure of the Mt. Gox case involving former CEO Mark Karpeles, who is still being investigated by the Japanese law enforcement.
On July 11, Karpeles, the former CEO of now-defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, plead not guilty to embezzlement and manipulation of data. Ever since the downfall of Mt. Gox in 2014, Karpeles has been investigated by Japanese authorities due to his involvement in Mt. Gox and suspicion that Karpeles manipulated user funds over a long period of time.
To the three-judge panel in Japanese court earlier this month, Karpeles stated:
“I swear to God that I am innocent.”
At the time of reporting, Alexander Vinnik, the 38-year-old Russian man arrested by Greek authorities, is being investigated for utilizing BTC-E, the oldest running bitcoin exchange in the market, in processing money used to fund illegal activities.
“Since 2011 the 38-year-old has been running a criminal organization which administers one of the most important websites of electronic crime in the world,” said the Greek police.
Vinnik was arrested on a U.S. warrant according to sources including Reuters and in the upcoming weeks, he will be extradited to the U.S. for a hearing.
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