Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has released an official statement detailing how it contributed to the resolution of a criminal investigation in the United Kingdom.
Working with the ‘Cyber Crime Unit’ of the UK Metropolitan Police, Binance helped locate the addresses associated with illegitimately acquired cryptocurrencies valued at approximately £41.6 million (GBP) – or $51.1 million (USD).
As a result, charges have been raised against a suspect who has been identified as a Bulgarian citizen – named in one report as ‘Svetoslav Donchev‘, from Pleven.
“We are pleased with the outcome of this case and are proud to have helped bring justice to those involved… Binance has always prioritized security and we are always working to protect our customers from bad actors such as this individual.”Official Quote, Binance
Donchev was subsequently extradited to the UK to face trial, where he pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud and was sentenced to nine years in custody.
He created and sold “phishing scripts” which were implemented into pages which were largely identical clones of 53 different legitimate business websites and branding. Around half a million victims are said to have been affected, all of which targeted through email.
Those using the scripts would impersonate and leverage the reputations of these recognised organisations in order to trick their targets into confiding sensitive and personal data.
The data was then sold on the ‘dark web’: a decentralized and encrypted underground network with a high degree of anonymity, where many criminal and otherwise unethical transactions take place.
“We are thankful for the UK Metropolitan Police Service, as well as the many other agencies actively working with us, and other industry players, to continue our fight against cybercrime and sustain a healthy, legitimate market.”Official Quote, Binance
Whilst there are little to no concrete, enforced laws in the United Kingdom regarding blockchain and digital currencies: the UK Metropolitan Police are no luddites when it comes to the criminal investigation around and seizure of cryptocurrencies.
Late September 2019, British authorities reportedly sold £300,000 worth of Bitcoin tokens which had been seized from a so-called “full time crypto trader”.
The sale, which took place across two auctions and garnered over 7,500 bids, concluded on September 26th, and raised the prices of around £6,798.80 per 1 BTC (£232 more than the price at the time of writing, being approximately £6,566).
Back in July 2018: a senior-level Latvian gang member living in Surrey, UK named Sergejs Teresk had £1.25 million worth (at the time) of Bitcoin seized along with gold, cash and jewelry, after his partner had reported him kidnapped.