Alleged Crypto Money Launderer Tied to Ransomware Attacks Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy Charge

Denis Dubnikov was arrested in the Netherlands and extradited to the U.S. last year.

AccessTimeIconFeb 7, 2023 at 4:26 p.m. UTC
Updated Feb 7, 2023 at 4:54 p.m. UTC

Denis Mihaqlovic Dubnikov, an alleged Russian crypto money launderer arrested in the Netherlands and extradited to the U.S. last summer, pleaded guilty to a charge of "conspiracy to commit money laundering" on Tuesday.

Dubnikov was arrested on suspicion of laundering proceeds from Ryuk ransomware attacks, a U.S. Department of Justice press release said. Dubnikov was accused of laundering over $400,000 in ransomware proceeds himself, and the overall conspiracy laundered $70 million or more, the DOJ said last year.

A U.S. company paid a 250 bitcoin (BTC) ransom after being hit by Ryuk, and Dubnikov accepted 35 BTC in July 2019 from that attack. He converted the funds to USDT, which a co-conspirator allegedly then converted into renminbi.

The Russian national was originally arrested in November 2021 in the Netherlands, but was not extradited to the U.S. until August 2022, the DOJ release said.

The Ryuk ransomware virus hit more than 100 different government and private enterprises in the U.S. alone in 2019, and may have hit Tribune Publishing at the time.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.