BTC-e Pledges to Return Customer Bitcoin Days After Police Seize Domain
A forum account associated with the operators of the BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange has posted new statements days after the service was taken offline.
A forum account long associated with the operators of the BTC-e digital currency exchange has posted new statements days after international law enforcement officials moved to shutter the service.
As CoinDesk reported last week, police in Greece moved to arrest Alexander Vinnik, whom they accused of laundering roughly $4 billion through BTC-e, including funds connected to the now-defunct Japanese bitcoin exchange Mt Gox. U.S. prosecutors later unveiled a raft of charges against BTC-e and Vinnik, and a $110 million fine was handed down from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
Amidst these developments, however, the only statements to emerge from BTC-e was a single tweet on July 26, which pledged that the site would return to working order in the next five to 10 days.
Roughly five hours ago, however, in a statement on the Bitcoin Talk forum (that was tweeted out via its official account), representatives for the exchange issued new comments, including a pledge to return users' funds.
The statement read:
The message also confirmed that BTC-e's data center had been raided by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation on July 25, during which time the agency "seized all equipment, the servers contained databases and purses of our service."
Notably, the statement pushed back on claims that Vinnik was an employee of BTC-e, with the operators stating: "officially declare – Alexander was never the head or employee of our service." In announcing the charges against Vinnik, the US Department of Justice had asserted that he was the "operator" of BTC-e.
The BTC-e statement went on to say that more information would be released in the next two weeks, including an account of "how much money fell into the hands of the FBI and what amount of funds is available for return."
Law enforcement badge image via Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.