New Crypto Rumor Puts Russia FSB and American CIA as Double Agents in Bitcoin Exchange Scam?
Cryptocurrencies have gained massive fame in the last few years as investors use them for financial benefit, privacy, and other economic and political reasons. The latter rings true according to a report by Lenta that shows how the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) used cryptocurrencies to carry out money laundering activities.
Lenta.ru is a Russian based media outlet that covers cryptocurrency and blockchain news.
The Lenta report starts off by narrating the Mt. Gox scandal that saw hundreds of millions of dollars lost by the exchange to ‘hackers’. According to the report, the CIA facilitated movement of large proportions through Mt. Gox to BTC-e, an exchange linked to Russian double agent, Sergey Mikhailov. The article further states that Sergey and Alexander Vinnik were storing the CIA’s money in BTC-e crypto assets.
The FBI asked for the arrest of Vinnik in 2017 who at the time was in Greece. The FBI said that Vinnik is one of the leaders of a criminal organization that, from 2010-2011, laundered over four billion dollars through BTC-e. Furthermore, some of these criminal funds were stated to be from the Mt. Gox exchange as 306,800 BTC of the 850,000 BTC stolen from Mt. Gox were transferred to BTC-e.
WEX, which assumed the obligations of the BTC-E exchange, was also controlled by the American special services through the recruited managers Dmitry Vasiliev and a certain administrator named Alexey, sources say.
The Other Side Of The Story
Sergey was arrested back in 2016 for acts of high treason selling Russia’s hackers’ personal data to agents of the U.S. government. The shock at having an American agent, Sergey Mikhailov controlling the Russian “Silicon Valley” caused Dmitry Vasiliev to remark,
“The goal to close one big dustbin, which could still be controlled and prevented criminal schemes, turned into the creation of hundreds of sites through which operations with cryptocurrency are now performed, including, undoubtedly, illegal transactions.”
The WEX Admins Hacking Saga
The report by Lenta places Dmitry Vasiliev and an anonymous figure, “Alexey” as the founders and controllers of WEX exchange. The anonymous “Alexey” has been confirmed as Alexey Belan, a WEX admin and hacker wanted by American authorities for his hack of data on over 500 million Yahoo accounts.
Vasiliev on the other hand is a well-known hacker and heist across Russia. More so, the confirmed bankrupt, has been the lead in a number of cryptocurrency scams in Russia including Buzcoin and PRIZM. Dmitry has voiced his concern on Vinnik’s case being influenced by powerful people who do not want to see the case come into completion.
He said his team had sent $5 million USD for Vinnik’s case but only $100,000 USD got to Vinnik’s lawyer. Vasiliev has further asked his legal adviser to follow up Vinnk’s case. Vasilyeva Victor Stepanov, the legal adviser said,
“I was declared a witness in the Vinnik case and spoke on this case. However, the lawyer did not ask specific questions, and I got the impression that no one wants to achieve the truth at this court.”
Is Lenta A Credible Source For The Money Laundering Claims On CIA?
The accusations made by Lenta towards the CIA may be a distraction from the corrupt Russian agents in the cryptocurrency space. Dmitrii Vasiliev, Alexsey Belan, Dmitrii Havchenko and Alexander Vinnik have all been named as possible hackers and their affiliations to FSB and Russian hacking points them towards the crimes.
The Lenta editor-in-chief is a FSB loyalist who may well be dragging the public attention towards the US despite the criminals being Russia’s hackers.
However, it remains to be confirmed who is the owner of WEX exchange as it links to the Mt. Gox and BTC-e scandals. One thing remains however, the owner cannot be trusted with the funds deposited on the exchange.