Russian law enforcement authorities are investigating the case of cryptocurrency mining at Butyrka, Russia’s oldest prison. The deputy head of the prison is accused of stealing electricity to mint digital coins with the help of unidentified accomplices.
Deputy prison chief suspected of mining cryptocurrency in Moscow prison
A high-ranking administration official at Butyr prison in central Moscow’s Tversky district is under investigation on charges of setting up a cryptocurrency mining farm. Also known asButyrka
. This prison is the oldest in Russia and was built in 1771.
Coin minting equipment was found on the grounds of a psychiatric clinic run by a federal prison. Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee is currently checking one of the prison’s deputy wardens for possible abuse of power, Kommersant economic newspaper reported this week.
Investigators have so far determined that the official, along with an as yet unidentified accomplice, installed the mining equipment in November 2021. The installation mined the cryptocurrency until February of this year.
During this period, the machine consumed about 8,400 kW of electricity, paid for by the government, at a total cost of more than 62,000 rubles. For this reason, the deputy director is accused of having “clearly exceeded his authority and thereby seriously impaired the legally protected interests of society or the state.”
Cryptomining using subsidized and sometimes stolen electricity has become an attractive source of additional income for many Russians. Regions such as Krasnoyarsk Territory and Irkutsk Region, which have historically maintained low electricity rates for their population and state institutions, have become hotbeds of illegal activity.
Illegal miners are blamed for frequent breakdowns and power outages, especially in residential areas where the power grid cannot handle the excessive load. To solve this problem, the Russian antimonopoly agency recently proposed introducing higher electricity tariffs for domestic cryptocurrency miners.
Raids against clandestine mining operations are taking place across the country, with law enforcement recently seizing more than 1,500 miners from two illegal cryptocurrency farms in Dagestan. One was mining cryptocurrency at a pumping station of the Russian Republic Water Supply Corporation.
Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons