The recent announcement from Europol said that four more members of Bitzlato’s team had been detained by law enforcement authorities in Europe.
The police agency said that nearly half of the funds that the crypto exchange in question had performed had been associated with a number of criminal activities.
The Bitzlato crypto exchange was recently busted for its alleged money laundering activities and its high-ranking executives have been arrested as part of a global investigation.
It should be noted that judicial and law enforcement authorities in a number of European countries are participating in the international probe.
On Monday, Europol i.e. the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation published a press release in which it disclosed the countries that had participated in the operation.
Other than the United States and France, countries like the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, and Belgium had also been part of the investigation.
The agency said that the coin trading platform based in Hong Kong is suspected of laundering huge amounts of illicit funds.
The Justice Department in the US had announced in the previous week that they had arrested the co-founder and majority shareholder of the exchange, Anatoly Legkodymov, in Miami.
He is a Russian national who resides in China. The digital infrastructure of the platform based in France was also shut down.
Other than the main administrator of Bitzlato, four more executives have been detained in Europe up until now.
These include the marketing director, financial director, and the CEO of the exchange, all of whom had been arrested in Spain.
Europol also disclosed that they had handcuffed another individual in Cyprus, but did not shed any light on their identities.
Eight homes have been searched by the police, which includes one address in US and Cyprus each, two in Portugal, and the remaining in Spain.
They have seized electronic equipment and vehicles, wallets that contain cryptocurrency worth €18 million, and frozen more than 100 accounts on other exchanges, which lead to a total of €50 million.
Bitzlato is not that well-known outside of Russia, but Europol stated that it had helped facilitate the quick conversion of cryptocurrencies into rubles.
These include bitcoin, litecoin, Ethereum, dogecoin, bitcoin cash, tether, and dash. Estimates have shown that assets worth €2.1 billion had been deposited on the exchange.
The agency said that even though the conversion of crypto into fiat was not illegal, investigations have shown that a large amount of funds that were converted were obtained via criminal activities.
It said that the analysts had shown that about 46% of the crypto assets that were exchanged on the platform were related to criminal activities and were worth €1 billion.
Most of the transactions that were suspicious were related to entities that had been sanctioned by the OFAC in the US and the others were also associated with different crimes, including ransomware attacks and scams.
Europol disclosed that Bitzlato and Hydra, the darknet market, had conducted transactions of about 1.5 million BTC.