The United States Extradites Russian Citizen to Face Cryptocurrency-Based Money Laundering Charges

The United States has succeeded in bringing Denis Mihaqloviv, a Russian citizen, to the country from the Netherlands to face cryptocurrency-based money laundering charges. A press release by the Department of Justice (DOJ), indicates that Mihaqloviv is 29 years old and first appeared in an Oregon federal court.

His trial is expected to take five days starting October 4. The United States Department of justice pegs its case on documents alleging that the Russian citizen worked with other individuals to move funds associated with Ryuk, a ransomware attack group.

In a statement, the DOJ alleged that Mihaqloviv and his team helped launder the money through many financial transactions to hide the origin and ownership of the funds. Their actions also involved erasing the location of the funds.

The DOJ also alleges that the 29-year-old Russian citizen helped directly launder over $400K in 2019, with others in the team moving more than $70 million from Ryuk ransomware attacks. If found guilty, Mahaqloviv faces up to 20 years in jail.

The Ryuk ransomware software was first identified in 2018 and worked by encrypting files on the host computer. In 2020, law enforcement authorities classified the software as a significant threat to the healthcare sector in the United States.

Mihaqloviv’s case falls under a special task force focusing on cybercrime threats across the country. Part of its mandate is to prevent the “development and deployment of malware.” It also works to unmask individuals behind a cybercrime attack.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Justice Department, and foreign government agencies are among a team working to unravel the Ryuk ransomware gang. The gang has targeted over a thousand victims across the globe.

At this stage, Mihaqloviv is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a Jury. However, the DOJ didn’t disclose the names of the co-conspirators.