Apart from recently shutting down some banks, regulators closed a crypto firm allegedly conducting illegal businesses. Bitzlato and its founder felt the power of the US Department of Justice when it closed down the exchange for allegedly processing illegal transactions worth over $700 million.
However, in a recent development, the users of the frozen crypto exchange Bitzlato could finally access half of their BTC funds stuck on the exchange over the past two months.
Bitzlato Restores Access To Customers
Bitzlato crypto exchange restored access for its customers to withdraw their Bitcoin from the platform. The exchange conveyed the message through Telegram with a directive that users can only access 50% of their frozen funds on the platform.
Also, they must use the Telegram bot ‘bz_phoenix_bot,’ as highlighted in the message, to access their funds. This involves moving the funds to an external wallet or another crypto exchange.
Additionally, Bitzlato encouraged users to click the ‘Support Bitzlato’ button while processing their withdrawals. This will help the exchange team restore justice and reclaim the remaining half of all the assets.
While some users confirmed withdrawing their holdings, some opted to transfer to other exchanges like Bybit. However, some users keep the funds on Bitzlato, hoping the platform will commerce crypto trading by April this year.
All withdrawals from Bitzlato are in BTC as the exchange converted all its altcoin holdings to Bitcoin when DOJ shuttered the platform.
Bitzlato Involved In Illegal Crypto Transactions And Money Laundering
In January this year, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) shut down the Bitzlato crypto exchange for engaging in illegal activities. According to its released statement, DOJ mentioned that the exchange operated an unlicensed money-transmitting business.
The exchange allegedly facilitated the transfer of illegally obtained cryptocurrencies worth over $700 million contradicting US regulatory rules, mainly anti-money laundering (AML) requirements. Its illicit activities were said to have taken place between 2018 and 2022.
Furthermore, the statement cited that the exchange assisted in some ransomware attacks as a platform for funds remittance. It received over $15 million siphoned through ransomware attacks.
Unlike other exchanges, the US authorities noted that Bitzlato maintained minimal user identification and documentation requirements. Subsequently, the platform attracted more criminals and fraudsters in numerous illicit transactions.
Additionally, Bitzlato is believed to have a connection with the Russian Hydra Market through several crypto transactions. The Hydra Market is a darknet illegal online market for stolen financial information, narcotics, money laundering, fraudulent ID documents, etc.
The exchange was accused of engaging users to process illicit funds from Hydra Market, which was shut down in April 2022 through the joint efforts of US and German law enforcement agencies.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested the founder of Bitzlato, Anatoly Legkodymov, to answer for the financial crimes allegedly carried out through his exchange.
Featured image from Pexels and chart from Tradingview.com