Dmitry Vasiliev, co-owner and former chief executive of the now defunct Russian crypto exchange Wex, has been arrested upon entering Croatia, local media reported. The crypto entrepreneur is wanted by Kazakhstan where he is accused of stealing money from an investor.
Belarus-born Dmitry Vasiliev, former CEO of Wex, once the largest crypto trading platform in the former-Soviet space, has been detained at Franjo Tudjman Airport in the Croatian capital on Wednesday, May 25, the Jutarnji List reported.
According to the daily, the authorities in Zagreb have acted on a red warrant issued by Interpol on a request from Kazakhstan. Vasiliev, who resides in the Russian Federation, is wanted in the Central Asian country for defrauding an investor of $20,000.
Kazakhstan’s law enforcement has been seeking Vasiliev’s extradition for some time, but the crime he is accused of there is relatively minor compared to other suspected offenses. Wex went bankrupt in 2018 and according to estimates by a group of users, the total losses exceed $400 million.
The news of Vasiliev’s detention in Croatia comes after in September last year, the Polish press revealed he had been arrested at the Warsaw airport in mid-August and was awaiting extradition to Kazakhstan. In December, it was reported he had returned to Russia following his release.
The crypto businessman was also temporarily apprehended in Italy some two years ago, but Italian authorities let him go after several weeks, citing faults in the extradition request. He was able to return to St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, where he lives.
In March 2022, the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs announced the arrest of a man accused of stealing financial assets from a cryptocurrency exchange. While neither the person nor the platform were identified, a report suggested this was Aleksey Bilyuchenko, another Wex co-founder.
In 2017, Wex was established as successor of the infamous BTC-e exchange which had closed down earlier that year after the arrest in Greece of one of its alleged operators, Alexander Vinnik. The U.S. accuses him of laundering up to $9 billion through the trading platform. Vinnik was extradited to France, where he was sentenced to five years in prison in December 2020, and is also wanted by Russia.
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