A 2017 charge against BTC-e owner Alexander Vinnik has ultimately led to a $100 million lawsuit against the crypto exchange and Vinnik. The United States is suing to try to recover those $100 million in penalties due to violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.
According to a Yahoo report, federal prosecutors in San Francisco initially charged Vinnik with stealing Bitcoin from other cryptocurrency exchanges in 2017. In July of that year, Vinnik was arrested in Greece and continues to be held there for operating an “unlicensed monetary service,” as well as money laundering charges. Vinnik refused to be voluntarily extradited to the U.S., so he remains there for now, per a Coindesk report. There is also an extradition request form Russia for Vinnik.
United States customers allegedly made 21,000 bitcoin transactions or more on the BTC-e exchange based in Cyprus and Seychelles. However, a court document filed in Northern District Court of California on July 25 indicates the exchange “made no effort to register with FinCEN, maintain any elements of an AML program, or report suspicious activity.”
The BTC-e crypto exchange was originally founded in 2011 with a headquarters in Russia. It was estimated as of February 2015 that the exchange handled about three percent of all of the Bitcoin volume.
As of July 2017, the BTC-e.com domain name and 38 percent of customer funds were seized by United Statues authorities. BTC-e created the WEX token as a way to pay back customers for the theft of their equity. However, the site went offline as of July 25, 2017 due to the charges against Vinnik and employees. Now, authorities are doing what they can to bring Alexander Vinnik to justice but they’ll ned to extradite him to the United States first.
In recent weeks, the price of Bitcoin has seen a bit of volatility. After surging over $13,000 per BTC, it eventually dropped lower to stay just above $10,000. As of Saturday, the price of Bitcoin crashed from $10,180 down to $9,410, per Cointelegraph. At the time of this report, BTC was trading at $9,640.50 at the Coinbase exchange.
For the month, Bitcoin has shed 20 percent from its price. Despite the recent slump and apparent corrections towards the downside, there are many bullish price forecasts. In particular, many forecasters are predicting the price to get back past its all-time high of $20,000 thanks to the 2020 halving event.