Bitfinex Ordered By UK Court Last Month to Freeze Extorted Bitcoin Funds
New reports have emerged about the $865,000 in BTC transferred to Bitfinex exchange. The sum is suspected to be part of a ransomware payment made by a company in October 2019.
As per the latest news, the commercial court of England and Wales high court ordered Bitfinex to freeze all the suspected ransomware funds ($865,000 in BTC). The court order that was issued in December 2019 and later published last week stated that an unnamed company paid a ransom of 109.25 bitcoin through an insurer to hackers.
The insurer then sought blockchain analytics services from Chainalysis and was able to trace the paid ransom successfully. According to Chainalaysis’ findings, hackers were able to convert some of the BTC into fiat currency then sent the rest to an account on Bitfinex.
Insurer’s Lawyers Were Successful to Convince Court to Freeze the Funds
Speaking to The Block, the Director of Communications at Chainalysis, Madeleine Kennedy stated that the insurer was able to trace 96 BTC related to the paid ransomware to the address of one user on Bitfinex:
“I can confirm a leading cyber insurer used Chainalysis software to investigate ransomware payments made on behalf of their clients and trace the flow of funds from the point of extortion to known services such as exchanges.”
After the evidence was presented to the UK high court, the court ordered Bitfinex not only to freeze the funds in the identified account but also to share the account’s Know Your Customer (KYC) information: Kennedy added:
“The insurer’s lawyers successfully petitioned the courts to freeze any funds related to the extortion,”
Bitfinex is not to Blame, Lawyers Reiterate
Darragh Connell, the representative council for the insurer, stated that throughout their effort to help their client trace the source of the ransomware, the client’s blame on the stolen funds was not focused on the popular exchange:
“It now appears Bitfinex is an entirely innocent party mixed up in this wrongdoing.”
Consequently, the general counsel for Bitfinex in the case Stuart Hoegner stated:
“Bitfinex has robust systems in place to allow it to assist law enforcement authorities and litigants in cases such as this.”
The ongoing case became the first to have bitcoin considered as a form of property by the UK High Court. Connell stated:
“Return hearings of the interim injunction will be heard again in due course before Mr. Justice Bryan, who has reserved the case to himself.”
Bitfinex Faces Multiple Lawsuits over Shady Activities on Its Platform
Meanwhile, in the US, Bitfinex is facing multiple legal actions. A court order, published by New York prosecutors, accused Bitfinex of fraudulent activities on its exchange.
In yet another case, Bitfinex, together with Tether and iFinex, are facing a four class-action suit for allegedly manipulating the market and causing the 2017 BTC bull market
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