The founder of Crypto Capital, the crypto banking platform that saw hundreds of millions of dollars seized in 2018, has been indicted on three counts by US authorities following the charging of its president in Poland, according to Bitfinex. The arrest and the indictment come following alleged links between Crypto Capital and Columbian drug cartels, who police say combined to launder drug money through Bitfinex.
One Down, One to Go
Crypto Capital rose to fame last year following an operation by Polish authorities which saw $350 million across several accounts seized following the alleged links to Columbian drug cartels. At the time the bank was holding $850 million for the exchange Bitfinex, which it subsequently said was among the frozen funds, leading to Bitfinex refilling its coffers with USDT it printed especially for the occasion. This, according to the New York Attorney General (NYAG), was performed illegally, hence the ongoing court case. According to a statement from Bitfinex published on Friday, Ivan Manuel Molina Lee, Crypto Capital’s president, was arrested in Greece in March earlier this year and was extradited to Poland just days ago to face money laundering charges. Following conversations with Polish police, an arrest warrant has been issued for the company’s founder, Oz Yosef, although confirmation from the U.S. Southern District of New York is pending.
Bitfinex Plays the Victim Card
Bitfinex itself denies any wrongdoing, claiming in the statement that it is “the victim of a fraud”, and that Yosef and Lee lied to them about the bank’s ability to handle Bitfinex’s transactions. They also make clear their position on the allegations of money laundering, stating that “any suggestion that Crypto Capital laundered drug proceeds or any other illicit funds at the behest of Bitfinex or its customers is categorically false.” Bitfinex will be hoping that Lee’s arrest and the hopeful future arrest of Yosef will take them a step closer to recovering the $850 million, which they claim is not, as Crypto Capital say, frozen in accounts in Portugal, Poland, and the US. Recovering the funds will not necessarily help them in their case against the NYAG however, and they might see it go straight out again should they lose their case, or the second case facing them.