FBI seizure notice

FBI, Ukraine seize cryptocurrency exchanges for abetting cybercriminals

The FBI and Ukrainian law enforcement have taken down nine cryptocurrency exchanges allegedly catering to cybercriminals.

According to a FBI release published Monday, the agency’s Detroit field office and Virtual Currency Response Team, along with the Ukraine National Police and the Prosecutor General’s Office, “conducted coordinated, court authorized activity involving nine virtual currency exchange services.”

The seized domains, which include uxbtc.com, trust-exchange.org, bitcoin24.exchange, paybtc.pro, and owl.gold, offered anonymous cryptocurrency conversions. All of the sites now display a seizure notice.

The FBI notice claimed the exchanges, which offered support in English and Russian, had “lax” controls to combat money laundering and collected either minimal information about customers, or none at all. Such exchanges, the agency wrote, “serve as important hubs in the cybercrime ecosystem.”

“Many of these services are advertised on online forums dedicated to discussing criminal activity,” the statement said. “Much of the criminal activity occurring at the affected exchanges involved cyber actors responsible for ransomware, but also other scammers, and cybercriminals.”

The FBI and international law enforcement have been increasingly targeting the infrastructure cybercriminals rely on to launder and move around the proceeds of their activities. In March, U.S. and European authorities shut down the cryptocurrency exchange ChipMixer, which they allege had laundered $3 billion in criminal gains, including the bounty stolen by North Korean hackers from gaming company Axie Infinity and blockchain platform Horizon Bridge.

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James Reddick

James Reddick

has worked as a journalist around the world, including in Lebanon and in Cambodia, where he was Deputy Managing Editor of The Phnom Penh Post. He is also a radio and podcast producer for outlets like Snap Judgment.