A wallet address linked to defunct crypto exchange BTC-e sent its largest transaction since August 2017 on Wednesday, sending a total of 10,000 BTC (US$167 million) to two unknown wallets, according to blockchain analytics firm Crystal Blockchain after being noticed by crypto sleuth Sergey Mendeleev.
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One of the wallets that received 3,500 BTC forwarded 300 BTC onto another wallet, which was subsequently split even further into several further wallets, while the other wallet has still held onto the remainder of the funds.
BTC-e was shut down by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2017 for alleged money laundering after handling an estimated US$9 billion between its founding in 2011 and that time.
The alleged operator of BTC-e, Alexander Vinnik, was arrested in Greece in 2017 by the U.S. Department of Justice under allegations BTC-e facilitated the laundering of funds acquired in the notorious hack of crypto exchange Mt. Gox Co. Ltd.
Vinnik was sentenced to five years in prison in France for money laundering in 2020 before being extradited to the U.S. in the same year.
Mt. Gox was once the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world, representing over 70% of the global Bitcoin trading volume in 2014 before collapsing in that year after being hacked for 850,000 Bitcoin worth some US$500 million at the time.
The firm’s Rehabilitation Trustee, Nobuaki Kobayashi, reached out to creditors in July saying customers and creditors would receive 137,000 Bitcoin, worth roughly US$2.8 billion at the time, causing concern of a pullback in the price of Bitcoin at the time.
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