Ex-CEO of BTC-e Exchange’s Spin-Off WEX Is Arrested in Italy

July 19, 2019
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Former CEO of now-defunct crypto exchange WEX, a spin-off of controversial BTC-e exchange, was arrested in Italy.

Former CEO of now-defunct crypto exchange WEX, a spin-off of controversial BTC-e exchange, was arrested in Italy.

No official statement to date

Dmitri Vasilyev, who reopened BTC-e exchange as WEX.nz in September 2017, was detained by Italian prosecutors. While no official statement has been disclosed to date, BBC Russia reported the arrest on July 19. In the report, the publication cited an unnamed friend of Vasilev and two anonymous WEX investors. The reason for detention remains unclear.

In April 2019, Vasilyev became the subject of a criminal investigation by the police department in Kazakh city Almaty, as the alleged suspect was charged with defrauding a local investor in the amount of $20,000 through WEX exchange, as crypto media outlet Forklog reported. According to the report, the 32-year-old suspect was announced wanted under an international arrest warrant in the territory of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

WEX, a spin-off of troubled BTC-e, quickly fell under suspicion

Defunct BTC-e, WEX’s parent exchange, still remains subject to a $4 billion fraud investigation by Greece and the United States, with the alleged founder Alexander Vinnik currently in the custody of Greek police, BBC noted. 

Following Vinnik’s arrest in 2017, Vasilyev relaunched the exchange under name of WEX that soon was reported as exhibiting suspicious tendencies including overpricing Bitcoin (BTC) compared to global norms. Eventually, WEX halted withdrawals in July 2018, which led to claims from users that the platform was a scam.

In late 2018, WEX’s fellow exchange and major global crypto trading platform Binance froze funds sent from wallets associated with WEX after users claimed that the exchange was involved in money laundering.

Meanwhile, Russian authorities continue to fight for Vinnik’s extradition to Russia, with Russia’s Commissioner for Human Rights having recently asked the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to help extradite the alleged criminal.

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