According to a Cluj, Romania-based newspaper, the case of bitcoin exchange executive Vlad Nistor is much deeper than the simple illegal operation of a cryptocurrency firm. Their most recent report on the case speaks to some much more serious allegations as to the behavior of Vlad Nistor.
The paper reports that Nistor was part of a group that executed phishing attacks on United States soil between 2014 and 2015 when CoinFlux was just getting started. A total of 14 Romanians have been indicted by federal authorities based out of Kentucky, Vlad Nistor just being one of the more notable due to his business ties and outward appearance as an upstanding citizen.
He is said to have advised some of the active cyber criminals via Telegram and helped them launder the proceeds of their illegal activity. They apparently executed a number of phishing attacks on US soil, some even traveling to the US to better succeed.
From the report (roughly translated):
“Two of these methods were run online via phishing or through various fictitious sale ads (via eBay or through online platforms ). For example, Romanians were sending e-mails using instant messaging programs or telephone numbers where the user is advised to give confidential data to win certain prizes or was informed that they are necessary due to technical errors that led to loss of original data. A web address containing a clone of the site of a financial or trading institution was indicated in the e-mail.”
After stealing funds from phishing victims, the criminals would use the newly created CoinFlux exchange to wash funds through various crypto methods. That alone would not normally be enough to indict an exchange operator, as most exchanges have some form of user agreement which bans illegal activity and absolves itself of wrongdoing on the part of its clients. Provided they following know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering regulations, they are usually free of responsibility.
However, in the case of Vlad Nistor, according to allegations, he actually advised the phishers on how to dispose of their proceeds using his crypto exchange.
The most recent reporting from the Cluj newspaper indicates that the court has given Nistor and his lawyers until Dec. 20 to make arguments as to why he should not be extradited. He appears to be what we would call in the US “free on bond,” but he is currently banned from using bitcoin or any other sort of digital currencies for any reason and must report to the court if they request his presence at any time.
Three criminals in the conspiracy have had their extradition requests approved: Popescu Bogdan-Ştefan, Dobrică Alin-Ionut and Arvat Florin. In the view of the Cluj reporter, the only difference between their actions and Vlad Nistor’s is that they carried out their illegal activities directly on US soil. The work of Nistor’s attorneys and the government of Romania is to determine whether or not Nistor acted in sufficient violation of US laws to warrant an extradition.
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Last modified: May 20, 2020 2:02 PM UTC