13 Apr 2023 21:40

Russian Interior Ministry files first criminal case in Russia on misappropriation of cryptocurrency exchange's funds

MOSCOW. April 13 (Interfax) - Investigators from the Russian Interior Ministry have completed an investigation into the first criminal case in Russia on the misappropriation of funds of a cryptocurrency exchange against a former administrator of the WEX platform.

"An investigator from the department for investigation of organized crimes of the Investigative Department of the Russian Interior Ministry has completed a preliminary investigation for a criminal case against a former system administrator of the WEX cryptocurrency exchange," the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

According to the Interior Ministry, this is the first such criminal case in Russia.

The defendant is charged with gross misappropriation of property belonging to World Exchange Services Pte. Ltd.

According to the investigators, in 2018, "the perpetrator blocked access to the combined current accounts and addresses of cryptocurrency wallets under the control of a legal entity."

"He blocked access for users and owners of the exchange to its circulating cash and digital financial assets, misappropriating property worth more than 3 billion rubles," the Interior Ministry said.

To recover the property damage caused to the legal entity and to secure the claims filed by the users, the investigator has seized the immovable property of the defendant, and his voluntarily contributed funds worth more than 4.3 billion rubles.

"The criminal case with the indictment approved by the prosecutor was filed with the court for consideration of its merit," the ministry said.

The users of the WEX crypto exchange "have the right to file a lawsuit against the defendant, World Exchange Services Pte. Ltd., a legal entity, in accordance with the procedure stipulated by the legislation on civil court proceedings," it added.