On October 1, Nobuaki Kobayashi, a trustee of the controversial BTC exchange, Mt.Gox, released on official statement confirming that he had contacted the United States Department of Justice in a “pursuit of information” relating to Alexander Vinnik, the suspected operator of the now-defunct BTC-e.
Kobayashi explained in his official statement that he aims to find information that could shed some light on the ongoing Mt. Gox bankruptcy proceedings. He also revealed that he is conducting his own investigation to find out whether any Bitcoin or fiat currency has disappeared, as well as to know about the background if they had indeed disappeared.
Notably, Kobayashi has reached out to the US DOJ with the help of a US law firm. The request for investigation assistance cites the indictment of Alexander Vinnik in the United States in 2017, as well as the civil lawsuit that was recently filed in July.
The Alexander Vinnik Case
On July 25, 2017, the 39-year old Alexander Vinnik was arrested in Greece as per the order of the US Department of Justice. Founded in 2011, BTC-e operated as a crypto trading platform until the United States government seized its website due to an alleged money laundering scheme.
The initial charges filed against Vinnik in 2017 claims that he masterminded a $4 billion worth international money laundering scheme. The illicit activity was allegedly carried out via the crypto exchange platform, in which around 300,000 BTC was believed to have belonged to Mt. Gox. Following his arrest, the United States, France, and Russia had filed their respective requests for Vinnik’s extradition. However, he has been detained in Greece for more than two years now.
The latest development in the case was announced in July. The US prosecutors filed a complaint that states the alleged violation committed by BTC-e and Vinnik against the Bank Secrecy Act. The motion purportedly aims to recover civil money penalties from the defendants.
Last month, Cointelegraph reported the legal action proposed by Zheleznikov and Partners, a law firm based in Russia. Should it be approved, the lawyers would be enabled to recover around 200,000 BTC that had apparently been lost due to the collapse of Mt. Gox.
As per the report, Zheleznikov claimed that Vinnik’s case could help them and the investigators in tracking the flow of BTC funds that were stolen from Mt. Gox via BTC-e. The law firm also clarified that they would only accept payment for their services once they’ve been successful in recovering the lost funds.