On July 31 the bitcoin exchange BTC-e sent a message over Twitter and on the forum Bitcointalk concerning the company’s recent website seizure by U.S. law enforcement. Additionally, the statement claims that Alexander Vinnik was not the head operator of BTC-e and further states the detained Russian was never an employee.
BTC-e Reveals Information on FBI Takedown
Bitcoin.com recently reported on the recent takedown of the exchange BTC-e and the arrest of its alleged operator Alexander Vinnik. According to U.S. law enforcement Vinnik operated the trading platform and laundered $4B worth of bitcoins tethered to illicit activities since 2011. The exchange domain was seized following the arrest of Vinnik by six law enforcement agencies working on the investigation, and now many innocent BTC-e traders are concerned about their holdings. Then on Monday someone who had access to the company’s Twitter handle and Bitcointalk account sent out a message to the public.
“On July 25, FBI staff came to the data center where our server equipment was located and seized all of the equipment, the servers that contained databases and the purses of our service,” explains the translated BTC-e message on the Bitcointalk forum. “For almost six days now we could not get sane information from our hosting provider on what happened to our servers and because of this information we publish now.”
The Exchange Claims it Will Process Refunds Soon
BTC-e also states that other employees servicing the facility were also taken into custody by the FBI. Moreover, the trading platform says it will soon be revealing how it might be able to come back online and start a refund process.
“The next update will include information on what options are available to restore the service, and also the procedure for obtaining funds, in the event that the service is not started. In the current situation, if the service is not started before the end of August, then from September 1 we will start the process for refunds.”
In the next 1-2 weeks, we will evaluate and publish information about how much money fell into the hands of the FBI and what amount of funds is available for return.
The exchange explains that the company has always worked on trust and “funds will be returned to everyone.” After the company provides some refund assurance, the exchange details that Alexander Vinnik was not an employee nor the head of the organization. The company’s statement also reveals that BTC-e will be answering questions in the Bitcointalk thread. However, there are no other statements from BTC-e within the thread or on Twitter at the time of writing.
Spectators Still Unsure of BTC-e’s Latest Statements
Many bitcoin proponents are uncertain of the legitimacy of BTC-e’s recent statements and especially the claim that Vinnik was not involved with the company. One reason people are skeptical is because of the recent Wizsec article detailing Vinnik’s alleged participation in many crimes. The bitcoin security specialists say “Vinnik is our chief suspect for involvement in the Mt Gox theft” and further ties him to BTC-e accounts. Wizsec says they will be releasing more information on the matter in the near future.
For now, BTC-e customers and spectators will just have to wait for more information to come to light either from the exchange itself, U.S. law enforcement, or blockchain forensic experts like Wizsec.
What do you think about BTC-e’s recent statements? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock, Bitcointalk.org, and Twitter.
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BTC-e on Refunds, the FBI and Alexander Vinnik