Two people have been arrested in Manhattan on suspicion of attempting to launder the stolen funds — and Bitfinex now hopes to be reunited with the Bitcoin it lost six years ago.
Two people have been arrested in Manhattan on suspicion of attempting to launder the stolen funds.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said the successful operation shows "cryptocurrency is not a safe haven for criminals," adding:
"In a futile effort to maintain digital anonymity, the defendants laundered stolen funds through a labyrinth of cryptocurrency transactions. Thanks to the meticulous work of law enforcement, the department once again showed how it can and will follow the money, no matter what form it takes."
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'Criminals Always Leave Tracks'
Detectives described the defendants' techniques for laundering the crypto as "methodical and calculated." As well as relying on fictitious identities, funds were mixed through crypto exchanges and darknet markets — all with a view to obscuring transaction histories and throwing law enforcement agencies off the scent. Matthew M. Graves, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, said in a news release:
"Cryptocurrency and the virtual currency exchanges trading in it comprise an expanding part of the U.S. financial system, but digital currency heists executed through complex money laundering schemes could undermine confidence in cryptocurrency."
In a statement on Tuesday, Bitfinex said:
"We are pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice has today announced that it has recovered a significant portion of the Bitcoin stolen during the August 2016 security breach. We have been cooperating extensively with the DoJ since its investigation began and will continue to do so."
It now plans to "follow appropriate legal processes to establish our rights to a return of the stolen Bitcoin."