NiceHash Co-founder Arrested on Racketeering Charges

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One of the founders of Bitcoin mining service NiceHash, Matjaž Škorjanc, has been arrested in Germany on behalf of US law enforcement on racketeering charges relating to the Darkode cyber crime forum, according to Slovenian news publication 24UR. Darkode, described by Europol as “the most prolific English-speaking cybercriminal forum to date”, is used by criminals to organize and share hacking methods and malware. Škorjanc was detained last week along with three other individuals following a US arrest warrant and extradition demand.

Škorjanc’s Dark Past Catches Up

Around the time of NiceHash’s launch in 2014, Škorjanc was sentenced to almost five years in a Slovenian jail for creating and distributing the Mariposa botnet, which infected over one million computers worldwide, skimming them for passwords and bank and credit card details. After his release Škorjanc returned to NiceHash as CTO, presumably considering his debt to society paid. However, US law enforcement opened a new case against Škorjanc and his malware gang in June this year, which resulted in the FBI issuing the arrest warrants that have now been successfully executed. Škorjanc will now be extradited to the US to face charges of racketeering conspiracy, as well as conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud.

NiceHash Yet to Comment

A NiceHash statement back in June summarized Škorjanc’s feelings on the new case:

A US Federal Court in Washington has unsealed an indictment identical to the case from the past (several years ago) for which Matjaz Skorjanc has already served the sentence in full.

However, the new charges against Skorjanc and his gang are based around the Darkode crime forum rather than the Mariposa botnet, which is a whole different legal avenue for Skorjanc to navigate. If found guilty on all charges, he faces up to 50 years in a US jail. In 2017 NiceHash was hacked for $65 million, although Skorjanc has always denied any involvement. He might wish he has been involved however, given the legal bills he is likely to rack up in the coming months. NiceHas have yet to comment on the latest developments.