BTC-e one of the most popular Bitcoin exchange is now under serious investigation by Bank of Russia and other Russian agencies. According to Wikipedia BTC-e was responsible for 33% of overall Bitcoin trades in October 2013. BTC-e exchange is believed to be a Russian company founded by two Russian programmers Aleksey and Alexander. Yesterday Volgograd prosecutor’s office released a press release stating that the agency is pursuing a criminal case against the Russian based exchange.
Based on materials from the prosecutor’s check the criminal case of fraud (Article 159 of the Criminal Code), the legalization (laundering) of funds acquired by other persons crime (Article 174, part 2) in respect of online resources that provide services to the so-called exchange “Virtual currency”.
Last week Central Bank Of Russia banned everything related to Bitcoin (link), including issuance (mining), exchanges, transfers and payment processing. Each company exchanging or accepting Bitcoin will be automatically charged with “supporting terrorism”.
How does the new rule effect to btc-e ? Guys over CoinDesk managed to get in touch with concerning persons about the issue and they responds “BTC-e representatives were confident that Russia’s actions will not be detrimental to their operations. A spokesperson implied that BTC-e faces little risk, as it does not have any offices in Russia or work with any Russian banks. Its founders Aleksey and Alexander, while residents of Russia, are not citizens.”
In short Russian authorities can only block the BTC-e website in their region only, and if founders are residing and operating outside Russia they can’t be charged by the new law.
Edit : It seems like either Volgoproc.ru was hacked yesterday or somebody hacked it today. They just released another statement (check here) and deleted previous statement. Translated version of new statement says “ Attention! Web site of Volgograd district attorney has been subjected to a hacker attack. As a result of attack, false information about criminal complaint against an internet resource has been placed on our web site. Until we resolve our technical difficulties, please confirm all news by calling our press service at 31-04-21.”
We’ll update this page as we get more news on this.