A Spanish judge has connected infamous hacker Denis Tokarenko, also known as Denis Katana, to a Russian organized crime group involved in money laundering using Bitcoin. The criminal organization operated in the Alicante province of Spain and chose to use cryptocurrency due to its perceived lack of government control. The Pandora Papers leak previously hinted at Tokarenko's involvement as the "Bitcoin czar." Local authorities claim that Russian entrepreneur Maxim Khakimov recruited Tokarenko to launder money for the crime syndicate. The judge stated that Tokarenko provided guidance to Khakimov on purchasing and using Bitcoin to hide the organization's financial transactions. Additionally, Tokarenko and Khakimov had a close relationship beyond their criminal activities. Tokarenko was first arrested in 2018 for his involvement in a program that attacked ATMs worldwide, which involved laundering funds through Bitcoin. He is associated with multiple Bitcoin wallets, amassing a fortune of over 15,000 Bitcoin. The judge focused on a digital wallet containing 5,000 Bitcoin, valued at around 55 million euros during the criminal operations. The crypto space has experienced numerous hacks and scams, with 76 reported in Q3 2023, resulting in a loss of approximately $332 million.
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