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Ukraine and FBI Seized Several Crypto Exchange Domains in New Money-laundering Burst

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By Brennan Forrest - - 5 Mins Read
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The FBI, in collaboration with Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, has seized not less than nine crypto exchanges for criminal charges relating to money laundering. These exchanges were accused of crypto money laundering, and all the resources in their accounts have been confiscated. These crypto domains sold and bought cryptocurrencies from cybercriminals as part of their money laundering procedure. Once caught by the FBI, their domain names were blocked and brought down. 

A press release on May 1 from the United States Attorney's Office confirmed the incidents. "On April 25th, the FBI’s Detroit Field Office, with assistance from the Virtual Currency Response Team (VCRT), the Cyber Police Department and Main Investigation Departments of the National Police of Ukraine, and the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine conducted coordinated, court-authorized activity involving nine virtual currency exchange services," the press release confirmed. 

They also confirmed that the domain names of those involved in this crypto money laundering were seized and blocked by the FBI. These domain names were taken offline to aid the investigations from the FBI."Domain names offered by organizations that were engaged in cryptocurrency conversions and provided assistance to cyber-criminals were seized, and related servers were shut down. U.S-based servers used in the scheme were taken offline by U.S. authorities," the press release confirmed. 

Some of the crypto exchanges that were caught in these money laundering activities include 24xbtc.com, and 100btc.pro, pridechange.com, trust-exchange.org, and bitcoin24.exchange. According to the FBI, these exchanges operated in a way that was abnormal for licensed crypto exchanges. They broke many laws in their bid to help launder the money that cyber criminals brought in.

Most of the services they provided in the exchanges were often anonymous and weren't as transparent as other crypto exchanges. These signs aided the FBI in their investigations. Now the websites have been seized by the FBI and the Ukrainian government, those who are trying to access it will see a notification warning them of the FBI's actions. 

Money-laundering Exchanges Advertised in Criminal Forums 

According to the FBI, most of these crypto exchanges that supported money laundering were advertised in forums where topics of discussion are cyber crimes. When they are advertised in these forums, those who need the services of these exchanges to launder money will go to them.

"Many of these services are advertised on online forums dedicated to discussing criminal activity. By providing these services, the virtual currency exchanges knowingly support the criminal activities of their clients and become co-conspirators in criminal schemes," the FBI noted. 

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The FBI also pointed out that most seized crypto exchanges offered their services in English and Russian. This means those who are using their services have a good knowledge of the English or Russian language.

"Much of the criminal activity occurring at the affected exchanges involved cyber actors responsible for ransomware, but also other scammers, and cybercriminals.  The service’s website offered support in both Russian and English," the press release said. Since facilitating money laundering is a federal crime, the FBI is already investigating those who were involved in the matter, and when caught, they will be charged accordingly.