Russian Crypto Exchange To Be Re-Launched: Formerly ‘Detained’ Co-Founder

Lavina Daryanani
Source: CryptoSlate

Ever since the U.S. DoJ announced an international enforcement action against Russian cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato, people from the space have keenly paid heed to related developments. Right from Binance being named as a counter-party to several user accounts being blocked because of investigations, a string of ripple effects has unfolded over the last couple of weeks.

Towards the end of January, the Bitzlato senior management team was arrested in a French and US operation. Alongside, more than €18 million in cryptocurrency was seized. After that, in early February, the Russia-based exchange’s CEO was arrested by Spanish authorities.

Earlier this week, Russian media house REN TV reported that the Co-Founder of Bitzlato, Anton Shkurenko, was detained on Feb. 6 in Moscow. He was reportedly suspected of committing a number of tech crimes as part of a criminal gang.

The executive recently spoke to CoinDesk and revealed that he was withheld by the police for an ID check. Additionally, Shkurenko said that he was on the Interpol wanted list and that was another reason why he was detained. Clearing the air further, he said that he was not aware of any active criminal cases against him in Russia.

Also Read: Bitcoin, ‘Bitzlato’ and the DOJ: What Just Happened?

Bitzlato executive released, plans to relaunch exchange

Shkurenko was allegedly released after a conversation. He reportedly signed an obligation to appear whenever demanded by investigators. Alongside, the executive received a no-detention warrant to prevent arrests going forward. Without revealing details about an ongoing investigation, Shkurenko told CoinDesk,

“I hope I convinced the prosecutor of my innocence.”

According to the U.S. DoJ, the Russia-based exchange processed around $700 million of illicit funds. In the past, other U.S. government agencies had raised money-laundering concerns associated with Bitzlato.

Nevertheless, Shkurenko asserted that the exchange did all it could to knock off criminals and “is not ashamed” of its work. The exchange’s executive further revealed that Bitzlato is prepared to relaunch. Alongside, it intends to eventually refund users who were affected because of the shutdown.

After emphasizing that will not take a lot of effort to do so, Shkurenko said,

“I could launch the exchange from my apartment. Two small servers are enough.”

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