Shuttered Crypto Exchange Bitzlato Says It Plans to Resume Operations: Report

The exchange has been charged by U.S. and European authorities with laundering $700 million in funds tied to Russian criminals.

AccessTimeIconJan 31, 2023 at 5:19 p.m. UTC
Updated Feb 10, 2023 at 3:19 p.m. UTC

The co-founder of Hong Kong-based crypto exchange Bitzlato, which had been charged with money laundering and had its servers seized in a major international operation earlier this month, said the company plans to resume operating and allow partial withdrawals of user funds, according to Forklog, which summarized a YouTube interview in Russian given by the co-founder.

Anton Shkurenko, whose co-founder Anatoly Legkodymov was arrested in the law enforcement operation along with several other Bitzlato executives, said police had seized the platform’s hot wallet, which contained about 35% of user funds in all cryptocurrencies at the time.

But Shkurenko said the exchange would reopen at an unspecified time, and that he could say with “100% certainty” that “we will allow 50% of user funds in bitcoin held in Bitzlato wallets to be withdrawn on the same day we launch. For other cryptocurrencies, the launch will be gradual.”

The previously little-known exchange was charged in mid-January with laundering over $700 million in funds tied to criminals in Russia. Legkodymov is a Russian citizen and majority owner of Bitzlato who was living in China and was arrested in Miami.

The European Union police agency Europol said Bitzlato had exchanged over $1 billion in assets linked to criminal activities.


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Nelson Wang

Nelson Wang was CoinDesk's news editor for the East Coast. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.