Former head of WEX (BTC-e) exchange arrested in Italy

19 Jul, 2019 | Updated: 19 Jul, 2019
by David Robb
Former head of WEX (BTC-e) exchange arrested in Italy

The former head of the WEX (BTC-e) crypto exchange has been detained by authorities in Italy. The BBC reports that reasons for Russian Dmitry Vasiliev's arrest are yet to be disclosed by local police.

Vasiliev had been in charge of the platform after it reopened as WEX in September 2017, following the initial closure of the BTC-e exchange and the arrest of its founder Alexander Vinnik in Greece. The FBI suspected Vinnik of laundering over $4 billion through BTC-e, which launched in 2011 and was the most popular Russian-language crypto exchange. Vinnik himself denied having any control over the trading platform, which was also allegedly used to steal customer's funds. He has requested extradition to Russia.

Vasiliev, 32, was born in Minsk and graduated from St. Petersburg Polytechnic University. He had testified at the trial of Vinnik, and took charge of his closed exchange through his own company based in Singapore. WEX itself shut down towards the end of 2018, after more allegations of fraudulent activities.

This latest arrest could be linked to a report from a Kazakh citizen that Vasiliev had used WEX to defraud him out of around $20,000, in September of last year. A police investigation was launched back in April. Vasiliev has claimed that he no longer has any links to WEX.

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