• Denis Dubnikov, a Russian crypto businessman, was ‘kidnapped’ by the US, according to his lawyer

  • According to his lawyer, US law enforcement agents “kidnapped” crypto entrepreneur Denis Dubnikov in Mexico before transporting him to the Netherlands, where he was arrested. Dubnikov is accused of money laundering and faces up to 20 years in prison if extradited to the US.

    The FBI has been accused of kidnapping a Russian citizen in connection with a cryptocurrency business.

    The FBI “practically kidnapped” Russian national Denis Dubnikov in Mexico before arresting him in Amsterdam on November 1, according to his lawyer Arkady Bukh, speaking to Sputnik. The co-founder of cryptocurrency trading platforms Coyote Crypto and Eggchange was detained by Dutch authorities after being detained at the airport in Mexico City while on vacation. The defense lawyer explained:

    Mexico has refused to allow him to enter the country. The US intelligence services placed him on a plane bound for the Netherlands and paid for his ticket. In other words, he had been kidnapped.

    According to Bukh’s account of the events, Dubnikov was deported from Mexico because the country’s extradition policy is not as “ideal” as Holland’s. “They have bought a ticket, in other words, they have kidnapped him and sent him to the Netherlands because extradition from the Netherlands is guaranteed,” the lawyer added.

    The Russian citizen is currently being held in a Dutch jail, according to the legal representative, and the defense expects his extradition to the United States. Denis Dubnikov has been charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering via wallets operated by his crypto businesses and faces up to 20 years in prison in the United States. Arkady Bukh elaborated, saying:

    So far, we have not agreed to extradition, but we will most likely do so later because the Netherlands is a country where fighting extradition is statistically insignificant. We’re thinking about it: maybe it’s worth agreeing to a quick extradition and settling it here.

    Arrest of Dubnikov Linked to Ryuk Ransomware Group

    According to Sputnik, Dubnikov’s arrest is one of the first in the case against the Ryuk group, which is linked to ransomware attacks on hospitals in the United States. Authorities believe Dubnikov received hundreds of thousands of dollars in bitcoin, some of which allegedly came from Ryuk ransomware attacks.

    Denis Dubnikov is not the first Russian national with a cryptocurrency business who has been detained by the US on request. Alexander Vinnik, an IT specialist, was arrested in Greece in 2017 while on vacation with his family. Prosecutors in the United States allege that Vinnik, an alleged operator of the infamous BTC-e exchange, laundered up to $9 billion through the now-defunct exchange. He was later extradited to France and sentenced to a five-year prison sentence for money laundering. In May, a French court denied Moscow’s extradition request.

    The arrest of Dubnikov that his Eggchange is being investigated for money laundering in Europe and the United States. The United States has recently targeted other Russian crypto platforms based on similar allegations.

    Suex, a Czech-registered crypto broker operating out of offices in Russia and suspected of processing hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto transactions related to scams, darknet markets, and ransomware actors such as Ryuk, was blacklisted by the Treasury Department in September. The department sanctioned Chatex, a cryptocurrency exchange bot linked to Suex, as well as two other ransomware operators, this week.

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