DOJ Charges Belarusian National With Money Laundering Conspiracy and Operating Unlicensed Crypto Exchange

DOJ Charges Belarusian National With Money Laundering Conspiracy and Operating Unlicensed Crypto Exchange

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged the Belarus national Aliaksandr Klimenka with money laundering conspiracy and the operation of an unlicensed money services business. Most of these criminal activities were perpetrated via BTC-e’s servers in the U.S. which were “leased to and maintained by Klimenka and Soft-FX.” According to the DOJ, Klimenka faces a maximum jail sentence of 25 years.

Anonymized Trade of Bitcoin

On Feb. 1, the DOJ announced that it had brought charges against Belarus national Aliaksandr Klimenka. The charges include money laundering conspiracy and the operation of an unlicensed money services business. Klimenka’s unlicensed crypto platform, BTC-e, allegedly facilitated a highly anonymized trade of bitcoin, according to an indictment unsealed on Jan. 30.

The DOJ further alleges that BTC-e helped facilitate transactions for criminals and received criminal proceeds. These illicit activities included computer intrusions, hacking incidents, ransomware scams, and identity theft schemes.

Most of these criminal activities were perpetrated via BTC-e’s servers in the U.S., which were “leased to and maintained by Klimenka and Soft-FX.” In the indictment, the DOJ contends that BTC-e had neither the required money services business registration nor an anti-money laundering program.

“Despite doing substantial business in the United States, BTC-e allegedly was not registered as a money services business with the U.S. Department of Treasury, had no anti-money laundering process, no system for appropriate ‘know your customer’ or ‘KYC’ verification, and no anti-money laundering program as required by federal law,” the DOJ said in a statement.

According to an indictment, Aliaksandr Klimenka, a Belarusian national, was arrested in Latvia on Dec. 21, 2023. Subsequently, he was extradited to the United States and made his initial court appearance on Jan. 31. As per the indictment, Klimenka faces a maximum jail sentence of 25 years if convicted.

What are your thoughts on this story? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.