In a recent statement released on June 9, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the charging of two Russians, Alexey Bilyuchenko and Aleksandr Verner, for their involvement in a major Bitcoin laundering operation.

The charges are related to the infamous 2011 hack of Mt. Gox, once the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.

According to the DOJ, Bilyuchenko, and Verner are accused of conspiring to launder a staggering 647,000 Bitcoin (BTC) that was stolen during the 2011 hack of Mt. Gox.

Utilizing their unauthorized access to the exchange’s servers, the accused allegedly transferred the stolen BTC to wallets under their control, as well as those of their co-conspirators, over a span of three years, from 2011 to 2014.

The enormity of this theft highlights the magnitude of the cybercrime involved.

In addition to the charges related to the Mt. Gox hack, the DOJ is also charging Bilyuchenko and another individual, Alexander Vinnik, for their alleged involvement in operating the BTC-E cryptocurrency exchange.

BTC-E was forcibly shut down in 2017 due to its facilitation of illicit activities such as money laundering, transfer of criminal proceeds, and storage of ill-gotten funds.

It is claimed that the accused utilized the stolen BTC from the Mt. Gox hack to establish the BTC-E exchange, which subsequently became infamous for providing a platform for cybercriminals worldwide to launder their funds.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. emphasized the Department of Justice’s unwavering commitment to apprehending individuals involved in illicit activities within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

These indictments signify the DOJ’s dedication to bringing justice to those who misuse cryptocurrencies and to prevent the abuse of the financial system.

By pursuing legal action against bad actors in the industry, the DOJ aims to safeguard the integrity of the cryptocurrency market and protect users from potential financial harm.

The case against Bilyuchenko and Verner will be prosecuted in two jurisdictions: the Southern District of New York (SDNY) and the Northern District of California (NDCA).

These venues were chosen based on the nature of the alleged crimes committed by the accused. The trials in these districts will provide an opportunity for the prosecutors to present the evidence, unravel the intricate details of the Bitcoin laundering scheme, and seek justice for the victims of the Mt. Gox hack.