By Lawrence Delevingne
BOSTON, April 28 (Reuters) – U.S.officials on Tuesday arrested Roman Sterlingov, dark markets 2022 the alleged principal operator of cryptocurrency money laundering website Bitcoin Fog, according to a federal court filing.
Sterlingov, a citizen of Russia and Sweden, was detained in Los Angeles on money-laundering related charges.
Bitcoin Fog, launched in 2011, dark web markets is one of the original Bitcoin “tumbler” or “mixer” services designed to help users anonymize cryptocurrencies payments, especially on so-called darknet market online markets that trafficked in drugs and other illegal products, according to a legal statement accompanying the criminal complaint by Internal Revenue Service special agent Devon Beckett.
“Analysis of bitcoin transactions, financial records, Internet service provider records, email records and additional investigative information, identifies Roman Sterlingov as the principal operator of Bitcoin Fog,” Beckett wrote.
More than 1.2 million Bitcoin (BTC) — worth approximately $336 million at the time of the transactions — were sent through Bitcoin Fog, according to the Beckett statement.
Requests sent to email addresses tied to Sterlingov were not immediately returned. (Reporting by Lawrence Delevingne; Editing by Aurora Ellis)