The founder of crypto exchange Bitzlato, who is facing a money laundering case in the U.S., is seeking support from members of the community. Anatoly Legkodymov was arrested in January for his role in the trading platform which allegedly processed millions of dollars’ worth of illicit funds.
Bitzlato Founder Looking for Bail Guarantors in U.S.
Anatoly Legkodymov, one of the founders and majority owner of the Russia-linked cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato, has turned to the crypto community, hoping to find U.S. citizens who would agree to become guarantors for his release on bail.
The Hong Kong-registered trading platform was disrupted in mid-January by law enforcement in Europe, where French investigators seized its servers and hot wallet while several of its employees and executives were detained in other countries.
Legkodymov, a Russian national residing in China, was apprehended in Miami on money laundering charges. The U.S. Justice Department claims his exchange transferred at least $700 million in criminal proceeds from ransomware actors, darknet markets, and crypto pyramids.
This week, Legkodymov issued his call for help through crypto media. U.S. law allows defendants to be released before a decision is made in their case, provided they find guarantors for their bail, his lawyers explained, quoted by the Russian crypto news outlet Bits.media. A group of Russian associates urged those who wish to help him to reach out on Telegram, stating:
The crypto community knows Anatoly as a decent, law-abiding person and wants to help him get out of prison on bail until the end of the trial.
A user by the name “Anatoly Legkodymov” has been active on the Bitcointalk.org forum since 2011, the report noted, as well as on the Bits.media forum since 2016, when the crypto entrepreneur and his partners started their trading business under the name Changebot which later became Bitzlato.
Legkodymov appeared in New York federal court for the first time in mid-March, when he was ordered held without bail. The Russian denies the U.S. money laundering charges.
Another Bitzlato co-founder, Anton Shkurenko, was briefly detained, questioned, and released by Russian police in February. In a Youtube interview, he revealed that Bitzlato intends to relocate to Russia and relaunch operations from there. Earlier this week, the exchange reportedly restored partial access to users’ BTC balances.