two alleged cryptocurrency thieves indicted

The two individuals were remanded in custody on Friday.

Le Figaro Bordeaux

The crooks pretended to be wealthy investors called Richard von Stein, Alexandre Karlstein or even Philippe Pictet. They arranged to meet their victims in luxurious establishments. Places always located outside the country of residence of the people contacted. The scam consisted of the criminals exchanging a suitcase of fake banknotes for cryptocurrencies (bitcoins, ethereums, USD coins). By the time the extortionists realized the deception, their phones had already been robbed to obtain the private key or recovery code for their digital wallets. Funds, which were then laundered via the blockchain (the public register which makes it possible to verify cryptocurrency transactions, Ed).

In July 2019, a first report established the theft of more than one million euros in crypto-assets in Milan (Italy). Other facts perpetrated in 2022 allowed the alleged offenders to appropriate an additional 500,000 euros. Arrested on Tuesday, December 6, two individuals were presented to an investigating judge on Friday. They were indicted by the specialized interregional jurisdiction (JIRS) of Bordeaux for “organized gang scams, money laundering, criminal association, use of false administrative documents” and “refusal to unlock their phones”. They were placed in pre-trial detention, specifies the judicial institution.

SEE ALSO – Investment: the end of cryptocurrencies?

A special jurisdiction and five gendarmerie units mobilized

The searches of the suspects’ homes, carried out simultaneously in the Paris region, in Megève (Switzerland) and in Cannes (Côte d’Azur), thanks to the joint forces of the Central Office for the Suppression of Serious Financial Crime (OCRGDF) and the JIRS ​​of Paris, made it possible to seize “58,000 euros in cash, two Porsches, a Bentley, a luxury watch estimated at 50,000 euros and the equivalent of 280,000 euros in crypto-assets“.

Led by the Bordeaux JIRS prosecutor’s office, the preliminary investigation required the issuance of a European investigation order and the assistance of five Gendarmerie units (the Center for the Fight against Digital Crime, the Gendarmerie des Alpes- Maritimes and the Research Sections of Bordeaux, Marseille and Paris).


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