Aliaksandr Klimenka [1] [2] [4], a Belarusian and Cypriot national [1] [2] [3] [4], has been arrested by the US Department of Justice for his involvement in the operation of BTC-e, an unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange accused of facilitating cybercrime and money laundering activities.


Alongside Alexander Vinnik and others [4], Klimenka allegedly controlled BTC-e [4], an exchange that allowed users to trade bitcoin with a high level of anonymity. This attracted a customer base heavily involved in criminal activities [1]. Despite conducting substantial business in the US [4], BTC-e was not registered as a money services business and lacked anti-money laundering processes [4]. Klimenka [1] [2] [4], who was arrested in Latvia in December 2023 [2], is currently in custody and faces charges of money laundering conspiracy and operating an unlicensed money services business [1]. If convicted [2] [4], he could face a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison [4]. The arrest of Klimenka highlights the US government’s commitment to cracking down on cybercrime in the cryptocurrency space and pursuing individuals involved in illicit activities using cryptocurrency exchanges. The case is being investigated by the US Secret Service [4], FBI [4], IRS Criminal Investigation [4], and Homeland Security Investigations [4], and is being prosecuted by the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team [4]. The exchange primarily targeted the Russian market but had servers located in the US [2], raising concerns about compliance with regulations in the US crypto industry [2].


The arrest of Aliaksandr Klimenka demonstrates the US government’s determination to combat cybercrime within the cryptocurrency sector and hold accountable those involved in illegal activities through cryptocurrency exchanges. This case also raises concerns about compliance with regulations in the US crypto industry, particularly regarding unregistered money services businesses and anti-money laundering measures. Moving forward, it is likely that authorities will continue to focus on investigating and prosecuting individuals involved in illicit activities using cryptocurrencies, in order to safeguard the integrity of the financial system and protect against cybercrime.