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The BBC Russian service allegedly links $450 million in missing Wex funds to the Russian FSB. It is said that the crypto assets may have been transferred to a fund belonging to the FSB.
In what seems like a story out of spy movies, the Russian service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has allegedly linked about $450 million of missing crypto assets from the long moribund cryptocurrency exchange Wex with to Russia Federal Security Bureau (FSB).
The BBC has for six years been investigating the collapse of BTC-e which many have believed was a front for the alleged laundering of over $4 billion worth of Bitcoins and why Alexander Vinnik is being accused of the same. The BBC has allegedly linked $450 million of missing funds belonging to Wex which is a defunct spinoff of BTC-e to Russia’s domestic spy service.
The BBC claims that it retrieved audio files containing evidence that linked someone named Anton presumably referring to ex-FSB officer Anton Nemkin with Aleksey Bilyuchenko, a co-founder of BTC-e, and Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev who is also presumed to be behind the sale of Wex which is a spinoff from BTC-e.
The BBC claims that Anton at a business meeting in 2018 allegedly demanded the handover of the cold wallets that were in the possession of Bilyuchenko. After the supposed handover the BBC further makes claims that Bilyuchenko was taken to an FSB safe house in Moscow for further investigation and questioning on the internal modus operandi of Wex by plainclothes agents of the FSB.
The BBC report further alleges that Nemkin requested Bilyuchenko to hand over all of the crypto assets of Wex in his possession indicating that the crypto assets will be given to the “Fund of FSB Russia” to which Bilyuchenko allegedly agreed. And as a result, about $450 million worth of crypto assets were transferred.
The BTC-e/Wex saga has been one that has been mired in one controversy after another. BTC-e was founded in July 2011 and started as a cryptocurrency exchange with just a few cryptocurrency pairs that included the BTC/USD and 10coin/USD. More currency pairs were added by October 2011 which include LTC/USD, the BTC/RUB and the Rucoin to Rubles.
At the height of its operations, reports indicate that BTC-e had a trading volume of over $66 million. Being the most popular cryptocurrency exchange at the time, BTC-e had the patronage of mainly Russians and residents of the CIS region.
BTC-e went offline on the 25th of July, 2017 after the arrest of Alexander Vinnik who is the co-founder of the defunct cryptocurrency exchange by the United States justice department. Vinnik himself has been in one legal tussle after another concerning extradition requests by Greece, the United States, and Russia.
Wex was founded by Bilyuchenko who is also a co-founder of BTC-e and a business partner to Vinnik. Although Dmitry Vasilyev who has been named as the official owner of Wex also happened to be one of the largest trading volume partners of BTC-e. Sources indicate that the Wex token was allegedly floated at $1 to 1 Wex to offset the losses incurred from the seizures and arrests made.
By August 2018, Wex users could only withdraw their assets at a 90% loss. After user complaints in Russia, an investigation ensued and the exchange was presumably sold to the family of Dmitry Khavchenko who is allegedly close to oligarch Konstantin Malofeev.
Dmitry Vasilyev was arrested in Italy in July this year and is also a subject of an investigation involving the defrauding of a Kazakh investor in Almaty.
As the plot thickens, it will become clear if the allegations against the several parties are true as the truth based on facts and evidence can’t remain hidden.