CEO of sulfur crypto exchange Bitzlato arrested in USA

2022 has been a terrible year for cryptocurrencies. Between scams, ransomware and exchange bankruptcies, the losses have been colossal. Law enforcement is mobilizing to try to stop the robbery and 2023 should be full of arrests. This time it is the turn of Anatoli Legkodymov, CEO of Bitzlao, a sulfur exchange with little attention forthe identity of its users.

The year 2023 promises to be difficult for crypto fraudsters: it started with the arrest of the Frenchman Aurelien Michel In New York. Uncovering the incredible financial scams of SBF, which of course still has surprises, has irritated the authorities a lot. At the press conference after the indictment ofAnatoly Legkodymov, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco even said it would be foolish to think of being safe on “a tropical island.” Bahamas?

Bitzlato: peer-to-peer exchange without KYC

bitzlato was established in 2015 and KYC has always been non-existent. Therefore, it is in complete anonymity that users can carry out their illegal transactions, especially on Hydra market. The servers of this giant marketplace were located in Germany, where they were seized in April 2022, along with a database of 17 million customers AND 19,000 seller accounts ! Its turnover was estimated at 1.23 billion euros for 2020 alone. 543 bitcoins were also seized.

Bitzlato and Hydra Market

According to investigators, more than $700 million in cryptocurrencies passed between them bitzlato AND Hydra market, either directly or through intermediaries. According to internal documents, Anatoly Legkodymov was well aware that its users were using its exchange for traffic of all kinds. As of May 2018, Bitzlato would have seen no less than 4.58 billion dollars.

Exchange of Bitzlato Anatoliy Legkodymov
Illustration of Bitzlato’s Telegram Bot

Customers from all countries

According to the site, visible on web archive, bitzlato was active in 69 countries. Despite strict US laws, many Americans were connecting to it: in July 2022 alone, the site reportedly received 250 million visitors whose IP addresses were supposed to come from American soil. Legkodymov, known as Anatolii Legkodymov, Gandalf or Tolik, also administered himself bitzlato from Miami in 2022 and 2023, without any difficulty. He faces up to 5 years in prison for the illegal transfer of funds, but other charges are likely to be brought against him.

Full details on the website US Department of Justice. If you understand English, listen declaring war on crypto scammers (and other crime-facilitating actors) of the United States Department of Justice.

The arrest of Anatoli Legkodymov could have happened only thanks to the international cooperation of law enforcement agencies. The continuous increase in fraud has a serious impact on individuals, but also on private or public institutions. Make no mistake, if there are crypto scams, there are also collaborations between one-stop banking partners. We are not at the end of our surprises…

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Avatar of Mary Batshwok
Mary Batshwok

Subprimes, financial crises, runaway inflation, tax havens… Bitcoin was created for more transparency and perhaps finally to change the game. I try to understand this new environment and I try to explain it myself. The road is definitely long, but it’s worth it.

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