Former CEO And COO Of JHL Biotech Sentenced For Conspiring To Steal Trade Secrets And Commit Wire Fraud Exceeding $101 Million
SAN FRANCISCO– The Department of Justice filed a civil complaint in federal court against digital currency exchange BTC-e, also known as Canton Business Corporation, and one of its chief owners and operators Alexander Vinnik, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Director Kenneth A. Blanco. The complaint seeks to enforce monetary penalties FinCEN assessed against BTC-e and Vinnik for alleged violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), 31 U.S.C. §§ 5311-14 and 5316-32.
BTC-e is a digital currency exchange organized as a corporation under the laws of Cyprus and/or the Seychelles Islands. BTC-e operated in Bulgaria, the Seychelles Islands, and other jurisdictions, including the Northern District of California, and allowed its users to buy and sell bitcoin and other digital currencies anonymously through its web domain, btc-e.com. Vinnik, a Russian national, occupied a senior leadership position within BTC-e, controlled multiple BTC-e administrative accounts used to process BTC-e’s transactions, and participated in the direction and supervision of BTC-e’s operations and finances. The civil complaint alleges that Vinnik operated several BTC-e accounts, including some tied to thefts from other virtual currency exchanges such as Mt. Gox. Vinnik is currently incarcerated in Greece and is the subject of an extradition request to the Northern District of California in connection with criminal charges filed in this district.
On July 26, 2017, FinCEN assessed monetary penalties against BTC-e and Vinnik for violations of the BSA. FinCEN assessed $12 million in penalties against Vinnick and $88,596,314 in penalties against BTC-e for BTC-e’s alleged willful violations of the BSA. The civil complaint seeks to enforce the monetary penalties issued by FinCEN.
According to the complaint, FinCEN assessed penalties based, in part, on the following conduct:
This case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Kirstin Ault and U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney John Siemietkowski with assistance from Tina Louie.