Dmitry Vasiliev, co-owner and former CEO of the now defunct Russian crypto exchange Wex, was arrested upon entering Croatia, local media reported. The crypto-entrepreneur is wanted by Kazakhstan for stealing money from investors.
Wex executive Vasiliev was arrested at the airport in Zagreb
Dmitry Vasiliev, the Belarusian-born former CEO of Wex, once the largest crypto trading platform in the former Soviet space, was detained at Franjo Tudjman airport in the Croatian capital on Wednesday, May 25, Jutarnji List reported.
According to the daily, authorities in Zagreb acted on a red warrant issued by Interpol at the request of Kazakhstan. Vasilyev, a resident of the Russian Federation, is wanted in the Central Asian country for defrauding investors out of $20,000.
Law enforcement agencies in Kazakhstan have long sought Vasiliev’s extradition, but the crimes accused there are relatively minor compared to other alleged crimes Wex went bankrupt in 2018, with total losses estimated by user groups to exceed $400 million. The total loss was over $400 million.
News of Vasilyev’s detention in Croatia came after Polish news agencies revealed last September that he had been arrested at Warsaw airport in mid-August and was awaiting extradition to Kazakhstan; in December, after his release He reportedly returned to Russia.
The crypto-businessman was also arrested briefly in Italy some two years ago, but Italian authorities released him a few weeks later, citing a flawed extradition request. He was able to return to St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city, where he lives.
In March 2022, the Russian Interior Ministry announced the arrest of a man who allegedly stole financial assets from a cryptocurrency exchange. Neither the person nor the platform was identified, but reports suggested that this was Aleksey Bilyuchenko, another Wex co-founder.
In 2017, Wex was founded as the successor to the infamous BTC-e exchange, which was shut down after the arrest of one of its alleged operators, Alexander Vinnik, in Greece earlier that year. The U.S. accuses him of laundering up to $9 billion through his trading platform; Vinnik was extradited to France and sentenced to five years in prison in December 2020 and is also wanted by Russia.
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