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  • Writer's pictureMichael Bacina

New Zealand Police net NZ$140M from alleged digital currency money launderer

Updated: May 2

The NZ Herald is reporting that NZ police have announced the largest ever freezing of funds (equal to NZ$28 for every man, woman and child in New Zealand) with a NZ company's accounts being seized.

The NZ Police allege that the funds are the proceeds of money laundering conducted by or in connection with Alexander Vinnik's operation of BTC-e - the exchange where a huge amount of the funds drained in the famous MtGox hack ended up.

Mr Vinnik is presently in France, after almost 3 years of being held in Greece while the US, French and Russian governments fought over who would be entitled to extradite him for prosecution.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said:

These funds are likely to reflect the profit gained from the victimisation of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people globally as a result of cyber-crime and organised crime

NZ police say they worked closed with the US Internal Revenue Service as part of the investigation, and given that at it's peak the BTC stolen from Mt Gox was worth approx US$4BN, the recovery of any sum, even if resulting from other hacks and scams that Mr Vinnik is alleged to have assisted, is a potential win and might help show the superior fraud prevention that immutable and distributed ledgers have to protect victims of scams.


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