Were The WEX Exchange Admins FSB/CIA Double Agents?
A recent study published by the Russian Lenta news agency indicates that WEX and BTC-e crypto exchanges were used by double agents to launder money for both the U.S. secret service and Russian FSB agents. Also, the main owner of the BTC-e exchange, until his arrest in 2016, was allegedly FSB Informational Security Center #2 Сhief, Sergey Mihaylov.
Also read: ConsenSys to Shrink With Ether Price, Lubin Remains Upbeat
Mihaylov’s Exchanges, Hackers, And High Treason
In their recent piece, Lenta presume that the Mt. Gox exchange was used by the CIA to launder money and send it to the BTC-e exchange. BTC-e was also allegedly a CIA controlled entity, with Russian FSB double agent Sergey Mihaylov as director. The article says that he and Alexander Vinnik were storing the CIA’s money in BTC-e crypto assets.
This is impossible, because Mihaylov was arrested in Russia back in 2016 for the crime of high treason. He was passing Russian hackers’ personal data to agents of the U.S. government. According to Dozhd, the dump lead to the arrest of a son of Russian LDPR party deputy, Roman Seleznev, for hacking. He was arrested on the Maldive Islands in 2014 and spent three years in a U.S.-based remand prison before facing a 27-year prison sentence in 2017.
The connection between the Mihaylov’s arrest and the acquisition of hacker data by the CIA is proven by the Rosbalt publication from February 2017. Oppositional press sources like Dozhd and Meduza claim Mihaylov sold the hackers’ personal info for a huge pile of cash. FSB officials deny the allegations.
Lenta cites the bankrupt Dmitrii Vasilev, a former WEX CEO:
“Mihaylov steamrolled Webmoney, which was the main laundry spot for grey budgets around 5 to 10 years ago. The cash did flow from all around the world. Since the introduction of BTC-e codes, Webmoney had lost their position. If we presume that Webmoney was under his control, then BTC-e was too.”
The author of the Lenta report continues:
“If BTC-e was also working under his control, then the platform simply served the interests of the American special services.”
But the publication has no proof of that. In fact, Mihaylov was a Russian agent who simply made a mistake. He dumped a list of FSB controlled hackers from closed FSB Infosec Department servers, which cannot reach the internet. Since that moment, the takedown of Mihaylov was only a matter of time. His actions that lead to his arrest had nothing to do with BTC-e activity.
Many Facts of The Story Look Awful
According to Lenta, the exchange was under the control of the Americans through Dmitrii Vasilev and anonymous Alexey, who were both U.S. agents like Mihaylov.
But “anonymous Alexey” certainly could be Alexsey Belan, WEX admin and a hacker from the FBI wishlist with a $100,000 USD pinned bounty. Together with three other FSB agents, Belan participated in hacks of U.S. servers, including the stealing and selling of personal data of more than 500 million Yahoo users.
As for Vasilev, he disappeared from Russia at the same time WEX ETH balances began to drain. He claimed that he spent $5 million on Vinnik’s defense, but the lawyer somehow only received $100,000. Vasilev is a confirmed bankrupt, a gambler, a hacker, and thief, as well as a recruit of the FSB, spotted with Russian and Belorussian passports. He is behind many Russia-based cryptocurrency scams (Buzcoin, PRIZM, etc.).
This may mean that Mihaylov and his colleagues were working for Russia, not for the U.S. But the bribe offered by the CIA may have been too much to resist. One of the anonymous Dozhd sources close to the FSB told the outlet that it was big money that caused Mihaylov to release the names of those behind several virtual attacks on the USA.
Lenta Draws Attention To U.S. Agents
The story on Lenta points to U.S. authorities as guilty regarding what BTC-e was doing. But the original creators seem to be top Russian FSB agents and international hackers with dirty reputations. Lenta’s recent study may be an attempt to drag the public attention away from corrupt Russian agents and to the U.S.
At least four WEX-related men were Russian hackers and FSB workers (Dmitrii Vasilev, Alexsey Belan, Dmitrii Havchenko, Alexander Vinnik).
Also, the Lenta news portal went through a Kremlin curated change of management back in 2014. After publishing an interview with the leader of Ukrainian nationalists, Lenta’s editor-in-chief was replaced with an FSB loyalist. The editorial politics of Lenta changed forever.
Whoever Stands Behind BTC-e and WEX Cannot be Trusted
With the BTC-e exchange, which later operated under the WEX.nz domain, there was a story in 2016. When the ETH-ETC hard fork happened in 2016, the exchange claimed that users did withdraw their ETC tokens, although the exchange didn’t give users control over their private keys.
Many users prefer to forget about their coins, because they understood that the exchange just stole them. Some others didn’t think they had the right to demand money from the exchange.
During the two major episodes of BTC-e and WEX shutdowns, the public lost around $500-700 million USD. At the same time, no one is claiming the right to any stolen money. This means that most of the stolen funds were deposited by criminals or by people who lost hope.
Will WEX related scammers go away unnoticed? Share your opinions in the comments.
Images by Jeff Fawkes
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