Minsk law enforcement agencies have asked for the help of other states in finding and detaining the person who allegedly ran the largest online cryptocurrency exchange in Belarus — Bitok.me (previously Bitok.by ). Vladislav Kuczynski is accused of tax evasion. The estimated damage to the state amounted to $ 3.5 million.
The Belarusian authorities have recently completed a criminal investigation against three residents of the city of Lida, who helped the owner of an illegal cryptocurrency platform to evade taxes. Vladislav Kuchinsky, who managed Bitok.me (previously Bitok.by ) for two years, was accused of "tax evasion on a particularly large scale" and put on the international wanted list.
The estimated damage to the state budget amounted to more than 9 million Belarusian rubles (about 3.5 million dollars at the current exchange rate).
In total, Bitok operators conducted almost 8,000 transactions with digital currencies totaling more than $ 29 million, the press release of the Investigative Committee of Belarus says.
The suspects used anonymization tools, SIM cards registered with fake names, and accounts on foreign crypto platforms to remain unnoticed. In the end, the investigators managed to identify all participants in the crypto trading scheme, intercept their correspondence with customers and track money transfers.
During the searches, the police confiscated computer equipment, documents and cash ($280,000). The law enforcement officers also managed to identify the bank accounts used by the defendants in Belarus and Georgia, which had almost $800,000 on their balance sheet, and arrest them.
With the assistance of Moscow, Belarus received a database with information about 2,000 Bitok customers. Those who conducted transactions exceeding $ 50,000 in fiat equivalent were questioned, the Investigative Committee reported.
Despite the arrest of accomplices and their persecution, Vladislav Kuchinsky continued to run an online exchange, advised clients to ignore calls from law enforcement agencies and tried to withdraw funds from frozen accounts.
The Investigative Committee stressed that the activities of the cryptoservice were illegal, since it was not registered as a resident of the Belarusian Hi-Tech Park (HTP).
Belarus legalized crypto-entrepreneurial activity by a decree signed by President Alexander Lukashenko in 2017, which came into force in the spring of 2018. The decree introduced tax incentives and other incentives for companies working with digital currencies that are registered in the HTP.
Belarus ranks third in Eastern Europe in terms of cryptocurrency adoption, as evidenced by the cryptocurrency adoption index compiled by the analytical company Chainalysis.