Alleged Russian Money Launderer Extradited to US

Key Takeaways:

  • The United States has extradited a suspected bitcoin money launderer from the Netherlands.
  • Russian national Denis Mihaqloviv Dubnikov, 29, made his initial court appearance on Wednesday in federal court in Portland, Oregon.
  • A five-day jury trial is set to start on October 4.

This week, a suspected bitcoin money launderer was brought to the United States from the Netherlands to face charges in the District of Oregon.

Russian national Denis Mihaqlovic Dubnikov, 29, presented for the first time in federal court in Portland today. The first day of a five-day jury trial is set for October 4.

He is accused of helping to launder tens of millions of dollars that were extorted by threat actors employing the infamous Ryuk ransomware, along with numerous unnamed co-conspirators.

Dubnikov is charged with deliberately laundering at least $400,000 in earnings.

Dubnikov could receive a term as long as 20 years in jail if found guilty. After considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other legal considerations, a federal district court judge will decide on any sentence.

Ryuk is a class of malware that was first spotted in August 2018 and, when used on a computer or network, encrypts files and tries to erase any system backups.

It should be noted that Ryuk can target storage discs that are physically attached to or housed inside a computer, including those that are reachable remotely via a network connection.

Thousands of victims from various industries worldwide have been targeted using Ryuk. Ryuk was particularly named by law enforcement as a growing and impending cybercrime threat to hospitals and healthcare providers in the United States in October 2020.

As hospitals faced the COVID-19 outbreak, statistics from November to December 2020 showed that Ryuk and REvil were primarily to blame for a 45% increase in attacks on the healthcare sector.

According to a January 2021 examination of 61 cryptocurrency deposit addresses connected to Ryuk, the organization made at least $150m. The actual sum, though, is probably much more significant.

According to a different analysis, the Conti/Ryuk operation may have made up to $2.7 billion.

The department’s Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force, which was established to counter the rising number of ransomware and digital extortion attempts, served as the conduit through which Justice Department personnel involved in this seizure coordinated their actions.

Law enforcement agencies have regularly accused cryptocurrencies of enabling untraceable transactions and aiding hackers in their activities. However, following transactions transparently on-chain has also assisted law enforcement in locating and recovering stolen money.

Tornado Cash, a cryptocurrency mixing service, is allegedly what Lazarus and others used to hide the source of their money and launder it. On August 8, the Office of Foreign Asset Control prohibited its use for US persons and 45 Ethereum addresses.

The Task Force tracks and dismantles malware development and distribution, identify cybercriminals engaged, and holds those people accountable for their crimes to disrupt, investigate, and prosecute ransomware and digital extortion operations.

To address this severe criminal threat, the Task Force systematically addresses the extortion illicit ecosystem and works with national and international government authorities and corporate sector partners.

Aadrika Sharma
Aadrika Sharma

I enjoy writing and try to learn new things every passing day!

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