According to the Polish news, Dmitry Vasiliev, the former CEO of Russian cryptocurrency exchange Wex, has been detained in Warsaw. Vasiliev is wanted in Kazakhstan, where he is accused of defrauding the successor to the famed BTC-e exchange with the now-defunct trading platform.
The 34-year-old Belarus native has been detained for 40 days, according to sources published by the publication.
His arrest in Kazakhstan is presently being considered by Poland’s National Public Prosecutor’s Office. Vasiliev has been sought by authorities in the Central Asian country through Interpol for several years as part of an ongoing investigation into fraud allegations.
According to the BBC Russian Service’s report on the issue, Polish police have declined to comment on the details of the case. However, since August, reports of Vasiliev’s incarceration have been spreading among Wex’s clients, and a close friend of his has verified to the BBC that he is in Polish custody.
Dmitry Vasiliev has been arrested before in Europe. He was jailed in Italy two years ago, but he was able to return to the Russian Federation and set up permanent residence in Saint Petersburg. After several weeks in custody, Italian officials freed him, alleging flaws in his extradition request.
Wex, the Russian-speaking world’s largest crypto trading platform, was created in the fall of 2017 as a successor to BTC-e. Following the arrest of one of its suspected operators, Alexander Vinnik, in Greece earlier that year, the infamous exchange was shut down. The United States accuses Vinnik of laundering up to $9 billion using BTC-e. In December, a French court condemned him to five years in prison.
Wex had a daily turnover of $80 million, according to the Russian business news portal RBC, before it went offline. In 2018, its operator, World Exchange Services of Singapore, was sold to Dmitry Havchenko, a Kyiv entrepreneur who later became a separatist militant in Eastern Ukraine. While the company was officially owned by Dmitry Vasiliev, the BBC believes that Wex belonged to Aleksey Bilyuchenko, Vinnik’s BTC-e partner.
Wex suspended withdrawals in the summer of 2018 after being in and out of service for months, during which time it also changed its web address multiple times. Total losses are estimated to surpass $400 million, according to a group of Wex users mentioned by Forklog, with Vasiliev himself accused of removing $200 million. He is wanted in Kazakhstan after a trader in Almaty reported the Belarusian for stealing $20,000 through Wex to local law enforcement.
According to the source, 100 ETH were just removed from Wex’s wallet, which still has a balance of approximately 9,900 ETH. The digital currency was moved to Binance, marking the first time in three years that such a transaction had occurred. In 2018, the world’s largest crypto exchange shut down an account that had collected 93,000 ETH through Wex wallets.