The husband and wife duo accused of laundering money associated with the Bitfinex hack have started their lengthy court processes. The couple is being charged with attempting to launder $3.6 billion worth of BTC hacked from the exchange.
On February 14, a federal judge allowed the release of Heather Morgan on bail, while the husband, Ilya Lichtenstein, will go into pre-trial detection as the prosecutors argued that the husband posed a flight risk.
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$3.6B Bitfinex case
According to the chief judge at the federal District Court of Columbia, Beryl A. Howell, Lichtenstein had enough resources to flee; hence he needed to be held at pre-trial detention. On the other hand, Morgan met the requirements for a release on bail.
The lawyer defending the couple against the allegations argued that they did not pose a flight risk as they had family ties and future plans in the country. The lawyer also stated that the couple has been under investigation over the past year, but they did not leave the country.
The husband and wife duo are being accused of attempting to launder 94,000 worth of Bitcoin. This was part of the money stolen from the Bitfinex exchange in 2016. In 2016, Bitfinex suffered a major hack that drained 119,754 BTC from the exchange, estimated to be worth more than $5.1 billion. The couple was found to be laundering the money using a sophisticated system.
US Department of Justice makes its largest crypto seizure
The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) made its largest crypto seizure after recovering the Bitcoin stolen during the Bitfinex hack. The DoJ seized 94,000 BTC linked to the hack. The Bitcoin was owned by Lichtenstein.
The DoJ has closely monitored the movement of funds suspected to be associated with the Bitfinex hack. The DoJ stated that 25,000 BTC associated with the hack was traced to financial accounts owned by the couple. Further investigations led to the confiscation of $3.6B worth of Bitcoin in the couple’s possession.
The hack on Bitfinex was the largest Bitcoin hack. The recovery of the funds elicited mixed reactions from the crypto community and caused Bitfinex’s native token LEO to rise in value.
The 94,000 BTC confiscated by the DoJ was worth around $74M during the hack, but this has grown to $3.6B at the current prices. The community quickly pointed out that Bitfinex has actually made a major profit. Netflix plans to release a documentary on this hack and how the couple laundered the money.
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