The U.S. Department of Justice has announced the arrest of Russian national Anatoly Legkodymov, founder of Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency
exchange Bitzlato, which has been accused of engaging in illicit fund transfers, including money laundering for Russian cybercrime group Conti, since it commenced operations in 2016, CyberScoop
Such an arrest comes amid the U.S. government's efforts in cracking down on cryptocurrency use for cybercrime and other illicit activity. The Justice Department claimed Legkodymov's awareness of unlawful usage of the platform, with a message written to a colleague noting that known crooks have been using the cryptocurrency exchange's internal chat system.
"To all those exploiting the cryptocurrency ecosystem to enable cryptocrime, we have a clear message: we will not only target hackers, fraudsters, and criminals that mask their profits in cryptocurrency. We are also unleashing the full force of the Department of Justice on the illicit actors and entities that support cybercriminals like Legkodymov and Bitzlato," said U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.