Tech 11 September 2018Dennis Wafula
7 charged in Iceland’s ‘big’ Bitcoin mining rig heist
Police in Iceland have charged seven individuals suspected to be involved in the so-called “big Bitcoin heist” that took place early this year. According to reports, Iceland prosecutors charged the seven with possession of stolen goods worth over $800,000, but authorities said three crypto mining firms have also filed lawsuits against the suspects, seeking $1.7 million in damages.
According to Modern Consensus report, the suspects face charges of possession of weapons, conspiracy, burglary, previous unreported heist, possession of cocaine, and theft of over $2 million worth of mining computers and equipment.
The heist began in December 2017, with Sindri Thor Stefansson, Viktori Inga, Matthíasi Jóni and Peter Stanislav stealing 100 crypto mining rigs from Algrim Consulting, authorities said. After their successful venture, the four decided to steal from another crypto mining company, Borealis Data Center (BDC), but this time they were unsuccessful after tripping the alarm. Undeterred, the group made another attempt—still unsuccessful—on BDC.
The group then turned its attention to VK data center in Borgarnes, where they managed to get away with 28 Bitmain Antminers. The crew decided to make another attempt at the BDC the day after Christmas. This time, one of the suspects got inside the facility but could not steal anything as the alarm went off.
After the third fail, prosecutors said the crew hired three more individuals to rob the Advania mines. There, they successfully took off with 225 Bitmain mining rigs. Investigators said the seven had help from an inside man who gave them the access codes to deactivate the alarm and also gave them a layout of Advania’s floor plan.
In February, Iceland police arrested two members of the gang, one of whom, after interrogation, allegedly turned on Stefansson and his cohorts. This led to the arrests of the other suspects.
After his arrest, Stefansson escaped jail but was later re-arrested by the police in Amsterdam. Stefansson also faces charges for escaping from the correctional facility in Iceland. In April, Stefansson reached out to Icelandic newspaper Frettabladid claiming that police were holding him without any evidence. He also claimed he was legally free to go home on the day he escaped prison. According to Stefansson, he will be taking the issue regarding his “illegal detention” to the European Court of Human Rights.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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