Italian police accused a man who ran a cryptocurrency exchange of being responsible for a series of hacks that caused millions in losses as part of an alleged massive fraud scheme.
According to Reuters, the 34-year-old from Florence known by his initials F.F. and owner of Bitgrail, a crypto company that was declared bankrupt in 2019, is suspected of having faked a cyberattack that defrauded over 230,000 people which held nano coin, Bitgrail’s own crypto launched in 2015.
The series of alleged fake hacks reportedly caused losses of 120 million euros ($146 million), and the individual faces charges of computer fraud, fraudulent bankruptcy, and money laundering. In a statement, Italian authorities said that such a case could be categorized as the “biggest cyber-financial attack in Italy and one of the world’s biggest.”
The report details that F.F. himself reach out to the police in February 2018 to report the hack and the loss of a “huge” amount of nano coin, but Ivano Gabrielli, director of the national center for cyber crimes (CNAIPIC), started to suspect that the 34-year-old man was involved.
The authorities’ statement adds:
For the first time in Italy and in Europe, we have documented fraudulent and rapacious conduct to the detriment of investors carried out entirely on IT platforms and via the use of virtual currencies.
However, Gabrielli stated that it was not yet clear whether F.F. participated actively in the theft “or if he simply decided not to increase security measures after discovering it,” as the police believed it would have been easy to prevent the theft in a first instance.
Back on January 21, 2019, F.F. was sentenced by the Italian Bankruptcy Court to return as much of the assets to his customers as possible. The Italian authorities also managed to seize over $1 million in personal assets, including his car.
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