- The US Department of Justice (DOJ) discloses the identities of the hackers involved in the 2011 Mt. Gox exchange heist.
- The perpetrators, Russian nationals Alexey Bilyuchenko and Aleksandr Verner, face charges of conspiring to launder around 647,000 bitcoins and operating an illicit cryptocurrency exchange.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has pulled back the curtain on the figures behind the high-profile 2011 Mt. Gox cryptocurrency exchange hack. In a landmark disclosure, the DOJ identified Russian nationals Alexey Bilyuchenko and Aleksandr Verner as the primary players in this massive security breach, an event that shook the crypto world and led to the downfall of Mt. Gox.
Bilyuchenko and Verner now face charges for their alleged involvement in the plot to launder approximately 647,000 bitcoins illicitly obtained from Mt. Gox. Furthermore, Bilyuchenko stands accused of running the illegal cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e from 2011 to 2017, alongside Alexander Vinnik.
According to the indictment, the duo, in collaboration with other co-conspirators, unlawfully accessed Mt. Gox’s server in September 2011. Over the subsequent three years, they reportedly transferred the pilfered bitcoins from the exchange’s wallets to addresses under their control and their associates’. Both men have also been charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, with Bilyuchenko facing an extra charge for operating an unlicensed money services enterprise.
The DOJ further alleges that Bilyuchenko and his co-conspirators ran a digital currency exchange, serving as a laundering platform for various criminals worldwide, including hackers, ransomware culprits, narcotics rings, and corrupt officials.
The DOJ asserted its dedication to bringing cybercriminals to justice, regardless of their location. It emphasized that the likes of Bilyuchenko and his associates, who cause significant harm to communities, will face the consequences of their actions.
In a separate case in the Northern District of California (NDCA), Bilyuchenko is also accused of teaming up with Alexander Vinnik and others to operate the BTC-e exchange until its termination in July 2017. BTC-e, once one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, purportedly served as a tool for cybercriminals to manage, launder, and store their illicit gains.
Since the Mt. Gox debacle came to light in 2014, the exchange has ceased operations, significantly shaking the faith and trust in the crypto industry. However, there’s a silver lining for the victims of this infamous hack. Following the approval of a rehabilitation plan, creditors of the now-defunct Mt. Gox are slated to receive compensation, with eligible victims reclaiming around 90% of their lost assets.
This plan officially became “final and binding” on June 7th, setting the stage for compensation disbursement expected to finalize before year-end.