a woman's silhouette holds a smartphone with the Bitfinex logo in the background

$4.5 billion Bitfinex BTC laundering case to include classified info

One of the biggest mysteries in the digital asset world took an unexpected turn after a United States district judge ruled that it contained classified information.

At the center of the mysterious case are Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife, Heather Morgan, with the latter being a rapper better known to her fans as Razzlekhan. Arrested in February, the two are accused of being in charge of laundering over $4 billion in BTC stolen from Bitfinex in 2016. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) allegedly recovered a BTC wallet from Razzlekhan containing 120,000 BTC, worth $3.6 billion at the time.

Now, a U.S. judge has ruled that the case contains classified info. Beryl Howell, the Chief Judge at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled that the investigations into the hipster couple contain “classified national-security information and documents.”

Judge Howell ruled in favor of a filing by the prosecutors who sought approval to set specific protocols and parameters for allowing defense attorneys to view classified materials.

It’s not yet clear what the top-secret information in the case is. However, the DOJ has argued in court that the two are high flight risks due to Ilya holding Russian citizenship. The couple had also traveled several times to Ukraine, where they had opened several bank accounts. DOJ alleges that the two New Yorkers intended to flee to Ukraine under false identities and start new lives with their billions of dollars’ worth of BTC.

Ilya and Razzlekhan (which Morgan says is like Genghis Khan, but with more pizazz) have gained global fame for their alleged role in one of the biggest heists in the digital asset industry. Dubbed ‘crypto’s Bonnie and Clyde,’ they have become instant targets for filmmakers. The latest is American streaming service Hulu which, according to reports, is shooting “Razzlekhan: The Infamous Crocodile of Wall Street,” a limited series set to star Lily Collins. Netflix is also reportedly creating a docuseries on the couple as well.

Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups—from BitMEX to BinanceBitcoin.comBlockstreamShapeShiftCoinbaseRipple,
EthereumFTX and Tether—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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