The Russian national, who was extradited from the Netherlands, has been accused of money laundering in the Ryuk ransomware case.
Russian Accused Pleads Not Guilty
29-year-old Denis Mihaqloviv Dubnikov has been extradited by the U.S. Department of Justice for his association with the Ryuk ransomware exploits, where the attackers allegedly laundered ransom payments extracted from the victims. The Russian citizen, who was in Amsterdam where Dutch police arrested him on U.S. charges of conspiracy to launder money, has been extradited to Portland, Oregon, where he appeared in federal court for the trial that will start this October. Dubnikov has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was granted temporary release on conditions of monitoring of computer activity. According to the DoJ’s statement, a guilty conviction would earn Dubnikov a sentence of maximum 20 years behind bars.
More On Ryuk Ransomware Attack
The Justice Department also detailed the modus operandi followed by Dubnikov and his co-conspirators. According to them, the malicious actors would allegedly engage in various financial transactions, including international ones, to hide the nature, source, location, ownership, and control of the funds received. The hackers use Ryuk ransomware software to infiltrate private servers, encrypt files, and damage system backups unless the victims pay them the ransom amount in Bitcoin to a specific wallet address. The allegations claimed that the entire conspiracy resulted in money laundering of over $70 million in ransom proceeds, with Dubnikov allegedly laundering more than $400,000 of them. Ransomware attacks have been one of the major cybersecurity threats that have plagued the Biden administration, with the North Korean hacker group Lazarus being the chief mastermind behind most of these in 2021.
U.S. Tightens Crypto Sanctions
Due to the magnitude of the case, multiple agencies are working on it. It is under investigation by the FBI’s Portland Field Office, and the Office of International Affairs coordinated with the Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force to facilitate the extradition.
The U.S. government and its associated bodies are coming down hard on any hint of malpractice in the crypto industry. Most recently, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a ban on the crypto mixer tool, Tornado Cash, for its role in aiding Lazarus in siphoning off millions of dollars from U.S. entities. A week ago, Dutch authorities even arrested an unidentified individual on charges of using Tornado Cash to hide financial transactions.
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