A Russian crypto entrepreneur, charged with laundering money from ransomware attacks, has been sentenced to probation and fined in the U.S. after pleading guilty. Founder of two coin trading platforms, Denis Dubnikov, was arrested in the Netherlands and extradited to the U.S. last year.
Oregon Court Sentences Russian for Processing Ryuk Payments
A Russian national accused of money laundering related to the distribution of ransomware has been sentenced to three years of probation in the United States. Denis Dubnikov was arrested in Amsterdam in November 2021, and then extradited to the U.S. in August 2022.
A federal court in Oregon has also ordered the 30-year-old crypto businessman to forfeit proceeds in the amount of $2,000, representing a portion of what he made as a result of his criminal activity, and pay $10,100 in criminal monetary penalties.
Initially, American prosecutors accused the Russian and his accomplices of laundering proceeds from Ryuk ransomware attacks on individuals and organizations in the U.S. and other countries between at least August 2018 and August 2021.
Court documents now show that the owner of crypto exchanges Coyote Crypto and Eggchange has laundered only a portion of a Ryuk ransomware payment, noting that the “defendant was not involved in the underlying ransomware activity and is pleaded guilty to a willful blindness theory.”
In July 2019, a U.S. company paid 250 BTC (approx. $3.1 million) ransom following a Ryuk attack. Dubnikov agreed to exchange 35 BTC for approximately $400,000 in cash. The court says he did not know these were ransomware proceeds but also “deliberately avoided learning the truth.”
Ryuk is a type of software that encrypts files on the targeted organizations’ computers. First identified in 2018, the ransomware has been used against various victims worldwide, including hospitals and healthcare providers in the United States.
The court sentence takes into account the time Dubnikov spent in detention. He has been ordered to comply with supervision requirements, including regular reporting to the police, taking drug tests, and providing DNA samples at the request of law enforcement authorities.
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