US Authorities Seize $3.6 Billion in Bitcoin Stolen from 2016 Bitfinex Hack


Representatives of the US authorities announced the detention of persons involved in the hacking of the Bitfinex exchange in 2016, as well as the confiscation of bitcoins worth $3.6 billion.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced the confiscation of more than $3.6 billion in bitcoin stolen from the Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange in 2016.In addition, 34-year-old Ilya Lichtenstein and his 31-year-old wife Heather Morgan, who are accused of trying to launder cryptocurrency, were arrested in New York.

They are said to have made over 2,000 "unauthorized transactions" to hide the origin of the 119,754 BTC stolen from the exchange.The prosecution alleges that the bitcoins were transferred to a Liechtenstein-controlled digital wallet. Of the total amount, American law enforcement officers managed to confiscate about 94,000 BTC.

“Following the execution of court-approved warrants, special agents gained access to files in an online account controlled by Liechtenstein,” the press release said. “These files contained the private keys needed to access the digital wallet that directly received the funds stolen from Bitfinex, allowing special agents to legally seize and return more than 94,000 bitcoins.”

The Ministry of Justice noted that this is the largest case of confiscation of cryptocurrency in the history of the department and one of the largest cases under the new program to investigate crimes using digital assets.

“Cryptocurrencies are not a safe haven for criminals,” said US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. – The efforts of the defendants to launder the stolen bitcoins through the labyrinth of cryptocurrency transactions were in vain. Through the hard work of law enforcement, the ministry has once again shown how it can and will follow money, no matter what form it takes.”

Liechtenstein is a citizen of Russia and the United States and is also known by the nickname "Dutch". The first evidence of the pair holding bitcoins dates back to January 2017, while the Bitfinex hack took place six months earlier.

“Since the 2016 hack, Lichtenstein and Morgan have been involved in various virtual currency transactions, including transactions of multiple altcoins, BTC liquidation through bitcoin terminals, and the purchase of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).”

Last week, about 94,000 bitcoins stolen from Bitfinex were collected in one wallet. Bitfinex's native UNUS SED LEO token has been showing sharply positive momentum since the beginning of the month, and has jumped by over 40% since today's announcement. According to the UNUS SED LEO white paper, if the stolen bitcoins are returned, Bitfinex will use 80% of the amount received to buy back and burn the tokens within 18 months.

“We are pleased with the announcement today by the US Department of Justice that a significant portion of the bitcoin stolen in the August 2016 security breach has been recovered,” Bitfinex writes. - We have been actively working with the Ministry of Justice since the beginning of the investigation and will continue to do so. Bitfinex will work with the DOJ and follow the necessary legal procedures to establish our rights to recover stolen bitcoins. Bitfinex intends to provide further information as it becomes available."

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