A Belarusian national has been charged with running an unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange that enabled money laundering.
According to allegations on Tuesday, 42-year-old Aliaksandr Klimenka allegedly controlled the digital currency exchange BTC-e from 2011 to July 2017 along with two other collaborators.
BTC-e facilitated transactions for cybercriminals worldwide and received proceeds from computer hacking, ransomware scams, identity theft, tax fraud, public corruption, and drug trafficking. The exchange had servers in the United States but was not registered as a money services business with financial regulators and had no anti-money laundering safeguards.
Klimenka was arrested in Latvia on Dec. 21 at the request of U.S. authorities. He made his initial court appearance in San Francisco on Feb. 1 and is currently in custody. He has been charged with a money laundering scheme and faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
The case involves collaboration between several U.S. federal investigative agencies and international cooperation between the U.S. and Latvia. It is being prosecuted by the Justice Department’s Computer Crime Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco.