They arrest in the US a couple accused of laundering billions in bitcoins

The US authorities arrested this Tuesday the couple formed by Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife, Heather Morgan, whom the US press has already dubbed the ‘Bonnie & Clyde of the crypto era’, for an alleged crime of conspiracy to launder thousands of million dollars in cryptocurrencies stolen during the hack of the Bitfinex platform in 2016, as announced by the Department of Justice.

According to court documents, Lichtenstein and Morgan allegedly collaborated in laundering the proceeds of the 119,754 bitcoins that were stolen from Bitfinex and sent through unauthorized transactions to a digital wallet under Lichtenstein’s control.

The value of stolen bitcoins in 2016 would currently be around 4,500 million dollars (3,935 million euros), compared to just over 71 million dollars (62 million euros) in which crypto assets were valued at the time of the computer attack.

Over the past five years, approximately 25,000 of those stolen bitcoins were transferred from Lichtenstein’s wallet through a complicated money laundering process that ended with some of the stolen funds being deposited into accounts controlled by Lichtenstein and Morgan.

The rest of the stolen funds, which comprise more than 94,000 bitcoins, with a current value of more than 3,600 million dollars (3,148 million euros) remained in the wallet and have been seized by the FBI.

Thus, the operation represents "the largest financial seizure ever made by the Department of Justice"according to Assistant Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco, who assured that cryptocurrencies are shown to "they are not a safe haven for criminals".

"We can track money through blockchain and we will not allow cryptocurrencies to be a safe haven for money laundering or a zone of anarchy within our financial system."added Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Cort├ęs.

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Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, with Russian and American nationality, had participated in the foundation of ‘startups’, while Heather Morgan proclaimed herself on social networks as "serial entrepreneur"rapper and surrealist artist, also using the stage name Razzlekhan and coming to proclaim herself as "the wall street crocodile".

In a statement, Bitfinex has expressed its satisfaction with the announcement of the recovery of "a significant portion of stolen bitcoins" in August 2016, adding that the platform has been cooperating with the Justice Department since its investigation began and will continue to do so.

"Bitfinex will work with the DoJ and follow the appropriate legal processes to establish our rights to the return of stolen bitcoin."has announced.

In this sense, the platform has advanced that if it recovers the stolen bitcoins, in the 18 months after the return date, it will use 80% of the net funds recovered to buy back and ‘burn’ UNUS SED LEO tokens in circulation, the cryptocurrency used by the platform.

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