$5.2 billion launderers from Bitfinex planned to escape to Ukraine


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Heather Morgan (US citizen) studied monetary policy at the Bilkent University in Turkey and received her Master of Arts degree from the American University of Cairo. Ilya Lichtenstein does have dual citizenship of the United States and Russia. For this couple, changing their location does not seem like a big problem, but they planned to disappear forever from under the eye of Big Brother Ukraine.

Decryption by the investigation of the personal archive led to the “passport_ideas” file, which contained links to sellers of fake passports on the dark web, as well as legends, photo scans of documents, and accounts in the Yandex.Money system (since September 2020 – YuMoney). In 2019, the couple visited Ukraine, after which files with fake IDs received numerous revisions. In the correspondence, one of the sellers offered to check the status of the finished document through the service of the State Migration Service of Ukraine
Another file revealed in detail how parcels were received anonymously through Ukrainian mail, including information about the location of CCTV cameras in post offices. During a search in the apartment, a bag with the inscription “disposable phone” was found, as well as a SIM card from the Kyivstar operator Ukraine.
Investigators cited these arguments to overturn a New York Magistrate’s order to release the couple on bail. A few hours later, a DC judge granted the demand in view of the high likelihood of Liechtenstein and Morgan escaping Ukraine.

The hacking of the Bitfinex crypto exchange led to the theft of ₿120 thousand, but until 2017 the amount was equivalent to $70 million. This explains why the spouses began to take active steps to anonymize only in the last four years.

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