No, Ukrainian Prosecutors Didn’t Just Seize 830kg of Cash From an OTC Crypto Gang – Here’s What Happened
Reports that prosecutors in the Darnytskyi district of Kyiv, Ukraine, recently busted a gang of over-the-counter (OTC) crypto brokers – who allowed individuals in Russia and Russian-controlled areas to trade cash, cash and land for cryptoassets – seems a bit off the mark.
Earlier this week, Ukrainian prosecutors issued an official statement explaining that a gang tried to “allow users from the Russian Federation, as well as residents of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics, to convert cash and non-cash funds in cryptocurrency”. without paying taxes. »
Prosecutors said they seized some $1.7 million in cash – a roughly equal mix of hryvnia, dollars and euros. They also confiscated 830 kg of silver bars, several mobile phones and several USB keys.
In addition, prosecutors said they seized six plots with a “total area of more than six hectares”, as well as three apartments “with a total area of 380 m²”. These goods “belong to the participants in the criminal proceedings, specify the prosecutors.
All of the above appears to be true. The only problem is that it actually seems to have happened over a year ago. In April 2021, the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) released a nearly identical report, which also featured a YouTube video showing officers dealing with transportation.
The SSU report also featured the exact same footage included in the prosecution’s report – evidence that the incident in question did in fact occur over a year ago.
The prosecution said anonymous people involved were charged with tax evasion, attempted laundering of property obtained through crime and fraud, and that all transactions involved crypto-assets.
The assets, officers said, were worth a combined total of around $3.4 million and were discovered during searches carried out in Kyiv and Kharkiv. This last city is currently one of the epicentres of the current military conflict and would be heavily attacked by Russian forces.
A media outlet claimed that the accusation’s “announcement” had “received little attention in the West”. As the story is clearly over a year old, it might not be hard to see why.
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