The co-founder of hash power broker NiceHash has been arrested by law enforcement in Germany, following allegations of involvement in the theft of millions of dollars.
Matjaz Skorjanc was arrested at the request of U.S. authorities on charges relating to the alleged thefts, along with several co-conspirators thought to be behind significant crypto fraud and criminality. According to local press, Skorjanc was arrested on Sept. 30 and detained by the authorities, pending trial and a possible extradition.
Skorjanc is wanted by U.S. authorities for setting up black marketplace Darkode, described as “the most prolific English-speaking cybercriminal forum to date”, and regarded as a hotbed for online criminality.
He is also sought in connection with Mariposa, one of the most significant botnets involved in DDoS attacks and cyberscamming, which was first discovered in 2008. While the botnet was shut down in 2009, it is thought to have infected over 1 million computers worldwide.
In June, press reports suggested the FBI was on the hunt for Skorjanc and others over an alleged conspiracy to distribute malware through the Darkode platform.
He was charged along with American Thomas McCormack, Spaniard Florencio Carro Ruiz, and fellow Slovene Mentor Leniqi on charges including conspiracy to commit wire, bank fraud and racketeering.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the charges include access device fraud, identity theft and extortion.
Should Skorjanc be convicted of one or more of the charges, he will likely face an extended jail term in the U.S. He previously served a five year prison term, and was only released in 2017.
The case is only the latest example of cybercriminals relying on cryptocurrency to scam their way to ill-gotten fortunes.
It comes on the same day the trustee in the now-defunct Mt. Gox exchange asked the U.S. Department of Justice for more information on the former-CEO of the controversial BTC-e exchange, Alexander Vinnik.
Alleged to have been involved in large-scale crypto fraud, theft and money laundering, Vinnik is currently in Greece pending extradition, with competing requests from the U.S., France and his native Russia.
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