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  • Crypto exchange WEX was terminated and accused of money laundering Bitcoin and other crypro assets in 2018.
  • Exchange’s co-founder says that he was forced to hand over customers’ digital wallet information to the intelligence agency.

 In 2018, WEX, a Russian-based crypto exchange, shut down amidst accusations of money laundering the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptoassets, including Bitcoin. As per a BBC report, the Russian FSB intelligence agency might have played a vital role in misappropriating the lost funds. WEX was earlier known as BTC-e before being shut down. The exchange’s alleged operator, Alexander Vinnik, was arrested back then and was accused of laundering over $4 billion in crypto.  
A PwC report said:

WEX is most notably known for its alleged involvement in the laundering of some $4 billion, transferring of funds to facilitate operations of the threat actor tracked by PwC as Blue Athena, and being responsible for cashing out 95% of all ransomware payments made since 2014.

As per the BBC report, WEX/BTC-e co-founder Alexey Bilyuchenko claimed that he was forced to give the data about customers’ digital wallets to the members of the FSB in 2018. This information was allegedly used by the intelligence agency to obtain over $450 million in user funds.  

Reportedly, Bilyuchenko received several calls threatening to close the exchange if he did not comply. He claims he was told that the client money would be transferred to the “FSB Russia Fund.” A few months after handing over the data, WEX froze the customer funds and withdrawals. Later, it was completely shut down in 2018.