• Europol has arrested 5 of Bitzlato’s senior executives, including the CEO, financial director, and marketing director in Spain.
• In course of the house search, Europol seized about €18 million ($19.5 million) worth of cryptocurrency and froze over 100 crypto accounts holding assets worth about €50 million ($54.3 million).
• Analysis by Europol disclosed that about 46% of the assets exchanged through Bitzlato worth roughly €1 billion ($1.08 billion) had links to criminal activities.
On January 23rd, the European Union police agency Europol announced the arrest of five senior executives of the crypto exchange Bitzlato. The people arrested included the CEO, financial director, and marketing director of the exchange, who were all taken into custody in Spain.
The arrest was conducted following eight house searches that Europol conducted in Spain, Cyprus, Portugal, and the United States. In the course of the search, Europol seized about €18 million ($19.5 million) worth of cryptocurrency and froze over 100 crypto accounts containing assets worth about €50 million ($54.3 million).
In addition to the arrests, Europol also found evidence that Bitzlato had been facilitating the laundering of crypto-assets. This included 119 Bitcoin worth €2.1 billion, which Europol believes could have been used to finance criminal activities.
Further analysis by Europol revealed that nearly 46% of the assets exchanged through Bitzlato, worth roughly €1 billion ($1.08 billion), had links to criminal activities.
The arrests come after the US authorities arrested Bitzlato’s founder Anatoly Legkodymov on January 18th for running a money-transmitting business. Additionally, leading crypto exchange Binance was named as one of the top three recipients of Bitzlato’s illegal funds.
Overall, Europol’s arrests and investigations into Bitzlato are part of the EU’s ongoing efforts to ensure that crypto exchanges are being used for legitimate purposes, and not to finance criminal activities.