US DOJ Seizes $3.6 Billion Worth in Bitcoin Linked to 2016 Bitfinex Hack
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched what seems to be the largest financial seizure ever related to cryptocurrencies.
According to The Washington Post, the authorities seized $3.6 billion worth of digital assets linked to a hack on the crypto exchange Bitfinex made in 2016.
As a result, Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and his wife, Heather Morgan, 31, were arrested and charged with conspiring to launder money. In fact, 119,754 Bitcoin (BTC) were stolen in the hacking incident, where the threat actors deployed a series of 2,000 unauthorized transactions.
Arrested People Claim to Have Spent Just a Portion of the Stolen BTC
However, feds only managed to recover around 94,000 BTC from the heist.
“Cryptocurrency is not a safe haven for criminals. (…) Thanks to the meticulous work of law enforcement, the department once again showed how it can and will follow the money, no matter the form it takes,” Lisa O. Monaco, Deputy Attorney General, commented on the operation.
Per the profile of the people of interest involved in the investigation, Lichtenstein claims to be an “angel investor” and holds both US and Russian citizenship. Also, authorities said that the couple had said that both spent just a small fraction of the money.
“We have been cooperating extensively with the DOJ since its investigation began and will continue to do so,” Bitfinex highlighted in a statement in the wake of the announcement. In addition, the exchange announced that it would follow “appropriate legal processes” to try to recover the stolen Bitcoin.
Stolen Funds Moved Early This Month
Part of stolen Bitcoin from the 2016 Bitfinex hack were recently transferred to an anonymous wallet, as FXEmpire reported.
In a series of Tweets from Whale Alert, it was known that the transfers started with fewer amounts, with the first transfer worth one BTC of stolen funds transferred. However, the next transfer of 10,000 BTC, equivalent to $383,540,711, was soon sent to an unknown wallet.