The Federal Service in the USA arrested a Russian-Swedish citizen Roman Sterlingov on suspicion of laundering nearly $336M in bitcoin for the last 10 years. The criminal will appear in court and face three charges – money laundering, money laundering without authorization, and unlicensed money transmission.
The Fraud Over The Last 10 Years
According to a recent report, US officials have arrested the leader of Bitcoin Fog – Roman Sterlingov. The Russian-Swedish admin of the notorious bitcoin anonymizer stood behind the network for the past 10 years. Court evidence alleged that he laundered $336 million worth of bitcoin.
Sterlingov, a resident of both Russia and Sweden, supposedly enabled users to combine their transactions with those of others to avoid anyone scanning the Bitcoin blockchain from detecting any personal payments. For this, he charged commissions ranging between 2% and 2.5%.
Per the IRS calculations, the perpetrator pocketed $8 million worth of BTC even before “factoring in bitcoin’s massive appreciation over the past decade.” The report claimed that Sterlingov used these funds to establish Bitcoin Fog’s server, which raised concerns within the IRS.
After the arrest, Roman Sterlingov will face three charges: money laundering, money laundering without authorization, and unlicensed money transmission.
Sarah Meiklejohn, a computer scientist at the University College of London, praised the ”follow the money” technique that the investigators nowadays use:
”With blockchain analytics the thing we say over and over is that all this activity is on this ledger forever, and if you did something bad 10 years ago you can be caught and arrested for it today.”
Bitcoin Fog and The Dark Web
As mentioned above, Bitcoin Fog is an internet service operating in an anonymous dark network. Created by a team of independent developers in 2011, it became the first and most renowned Bitcoin anonymizer.
US officials reported that over the years of its existence, the network was linked to multiple drug-selling dark web markets such as the Silk Road, Agora, and AlphaBay.
Surprisingly enough, Bitcoin Fog still remains online even after the arrest of Roman Sterlingov. There is no information, though, who runs the platform now as both the IRS and the Department of Justice refused to comment on the topic.