• Bitzlato, a Russia-linked cryptocurrency exchange, has begun allowing its customers to withdraw their funds after being shut down by law enforcement in the U.S. and Europe alleging that it had been used for money laundering.
• The Hong Kong registered exchange had been offline for over a month during which it was seized by French authorities and four of its team members were arrested in European countries.
• Bitzlato intends to relocate to Russia and restore operations and withdrawals from there, with co-founder Anton Shkurenko announcing that French investigators had seized the platform’s hot wallet with over a third of its assets.
Bitzlato Crypto Exchange Restores Access to User Funds
Russia-linked cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato has begun processing withdrawals of digital assets belonging to its customers. The trading platform was shut down in an operation carried out by law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Europe alleging that it had been used to launder dirty money.
Users Allowed Withdrawals After Weeks Offline
Users who have deposited funds to Bitzlato can now start to withdraw their coins, the recently seized crypto exchange said in a Telegram message. The announcement comes after a period of over a month during which the trading platform was unavailable.
Alleged Money Laundering & Arrests
The Hong Kong-registered exchange, better known to Russian-speaking traders, was taken down in a coordinated law enforcement operation in January when French authorities took control of its website and their American colleagues arrested its co-founder Anatoly Legkodymov. The U.S. Justice Department believes Bitzlato has processed over $700 million in funds from criminal entities such as the darknet market Hydra and the Russian crypto pyramid scheme Finiko. According Europol, it exchanged over $1 billion of illicit money.
Backstage Games & Relocation Plans
„We were gone for 42 long days, but we are back,“ said Bitzlato on Telegram „A lot of work has been done to ensure that your data is safe and the coins are in your wallets.“ It also insisted it had been used as „a bargaining chip in backstage games.“ In late January, four more members of its team including three executives were arrested in European countries while other co-founder Anton Shkurenko was briefly detained before being released by Russian police in February.. Shkurenko announced plans for relocating operations and restoring withdrawals from Russia afterwards although he noted that French investigators had already seized Bitzlao’s hot wallet containing over a third of its assets so withdrawals would be partial at first .
Conclusion: Reactions To News Of Restored Access
Do you think Russian authorities will allow Bitzlato to operate from the country? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below!