Klimenko, 42, has controlled the largest crypto exchange with Russian roots since 2011, which collapsed in 2017, along with Vinnik and others, the indictment says. The defendants are charged with "international conspiracy to launder money and participate in the operation of an unlicensed digital currency exchange." Estimates of the amount of money laundered start at $9 billion.
Klimenko, American justice believes, managed the financial company FX Open and the Soft-FX company responsible for the technical part. It was this group of legal entities that was the final recipient of the money that went to it through offshore companies with BTC-e, it follows from the documents.
US law enforcement officers began pursuing the creators of BTC-e in 2017, helping to detain Alexander Vinnik in Cyprus. Alexander Klimenko was arrested in Latvia on December 21, 2023 at the request of the United States, but flew to San Francisco only on the eve of the publication of the indictment, on January 31, 2024.
If the American court agrees with the charges and finds the Belarusian guilty, he faces up to 25 years in federal prison. The Ministry of Justice does not specify how many years the Russian faces. In September, information leaked that Vinnik was ready to cooperate with the investigation in order to shorten the sentence and admit his guilt at trial.
Russia is currently continuing its own investigation into the BTC-e case. In September, another exchange administrator, Alexey Bilyuchenko, received a rather lenient 4.5-year term in a general regime colony and a fine of 1 million rubles. For, if you believe the verdict, embezzlement of funds from the Wex crypto exchange, the heiress of BTC-e. Those who watched the trial suggested that the leniency of the sentence was compensated by the obligation to hand over to persons close to the state all the remaining multibillion-dollar assets.