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Couple accused of laundering Bitfinex hack proceeds reportedly seeks plea deal

Bitfinex
Bitfinex

The case hearing for the couple involved in laundering money for the Bitfinex hack has been postponed. Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife Heather Morgan were accused of being involved in the Bitfinex hack in 2016.

Bitfinex case postponed

The US Department of Justice was involved in the arrest of Lichtenstein and Morgan and managed to recover 119,754 Bitcoin (BTC) from the couple. The Bitcoin belonged to Bitfinex, a cryptocurrency exchange hacked six years ago.

The couple that is now famously known as the “Crocodile of Wall Street” was charged with attempting to launder the funds stolen from the massive Bitfinex hack in 2016. The detection of the funds being laundered by the couple formed a major argument that cryptocurrencies cannot be used to conduct illicit activities because transactions can be monitored easily.

The latest development also revealed that the two were negotiating a plea deal with the Department of Justice. The court hearing for the case was scheduled for June 3 at a federal court in Washington, but it has now been postponed to a later date.

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The federal prosecutors have asked the judge to postpone the hearing of the case until August 2. The prosecutors said that they needed additional time to go through the financial records linked to the case. They added that they were looking at a plea deal for the couple.

$3.6B worth of stolen Bitcoin

When the couple was arrested, $3.6 billion worth of Bitcoin was seized. The Bitcoin was linked to the Bitfinex hack of 2016. Lisa Monaco, the US Deputy Attorney general, said that this seizure was the department’s largest financial confiscation to be ever made.

The Department of Justice did not issue any charges to the couple related to hacking the exchange in 2016. The couple is only being accused of laundering the proceeds of the hack and for initiating more than 2000 illegal transactions.

When the hack occurred, the stolen Bitcoin was worth around $72 million. However, the value of the assets has since increased significantly to be worth around $4.5 billion. Bitfinex noted that it was working alongside the DoJ to investigate this hack. It also noted that it was happy that the authorities successfully recovered the massive amount of Bitcoin stolen during the 2016 hack. Bitfinex has remained in operation over the years despite the hack.

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