Ryuk Ransomware Gang’s Crypto Broker Gets Light Sentence After a Guilty Plea

Denis Dubnikov was sentenced to time served, a $10,000 fine and a $2,000 forfeiture.

AccessTimeIconApr 17, 2023 at 10:44 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 21, 2023 at 9:43 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Denis Dubnikov, a founder of two over-the-counter (OTC) trading desks in Russia tied to ransomware attacks, was sentenced to no jail time, fine of $10,000 and forfeiture of $2,000 last week after a guilty plea, court documents show.

Dubnikov is a founder of the Coyote Crypto and Eggchange OTC services in Russia. He was arrested in 2021 in Netherlands and extradited to the U.S. in 2022 for helping ransomware hackers cash out crypto. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Dubnikov helped the notorious Ryuk ransomware group launder more than $400,000 in ransom proceeds.

According to an indictment, Dubnikov was among the brokers who helped Ryuk launder the ransomware payouts by splitting payments into multiple smaller amounts, transferring them between self-hosted wallets and then exchanging bitcoin (BTC) for tether (USDT), other cryptocurrencies and fiat, especially the Chinese yuan.

If convicted, Dubnikov would have spent up to 20 years in prison. But in February he pleaded guilty to “conspiracy to commit money laundering,” and on April, 11, Dubnikov was sentenced for imprisonment of the time served, meaning he will be released on parole. Dubnikov was also ordered to pay a $10,000 penalty and forfeit $2,000, according to the court case documents.

CORRECTION (Apr. 21, 2023, 21:43 UTC): The initial version of this article did not mention the $10,000 fine Dubnikov had been sentenced to pay.

Edited by Nikhilesh De.

Disclosure

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 Block.one; 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 offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Anna Baydakova

Anna Baydakova was CoinDesk's investigative reporter with a special focus on Eastern Europe and Russia. Anna owns BTC and an NFT.


Learn more about Consensus 2024, 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.