The operator of the Romanian bitcoin exchange CoinFlux, Vlad Nistor, was recently arrested in Cluj with the help of four U.S. Secret Service agents. Authorities in the U.S. Department of Justice have asked Romanian officials to extradite Nistor. As of press time, some reports said the extradition will go through.
Nistor is reportedly under investigation in two criminal cases in the U.S. Allegations levied against him so far include fraud, computer fraud, money laundering, and the creation of an organized crime group. A recent blog post from CoinFlux Marketing Specialist Alexandru Coman indicated the exchange had to stop operations due to a “recently started, unexpected investigation.”
The post said company bank accounts had been frozen but noted staffers were purportedly “doing all possible efforts” to make sure people get their money back.
CoinFlux: A Small Exchange With A Lot Of Attention
According to local news outlet Stiti de Cluj, Nistor launched Coinflux in December 2015 after spending seven years working in the financial sector. The platform reportedly hosted more than 32,000 transactions in 2017 and was used by more than 19,000 people. Users on the site were able to trade bitcoin, Ether, Ripple, and Litecoin.
The exchange allegedly gained the attention of prosecutors in the United States who claimed Nistor was cheating American citizens in their bitcoin transactions. Media report said prosecutors had plans to search a few “storage units” Nistor had as part of their investigation.
Crypto Exchange Operators' Controversial Arrest
News of the arrest and the involvement of U.S. officials did not go unnoticed in Romania. EVZ.ro wrote that the participation of U.S. agents in the search and arrest was illegal under Romanian criminal law. The outlet also claimed judicial sources were not willing to give the names of the agents who were involved.
One editorial in a Cluj news outlet questioned the arrest and the purported plans to extradite Nistor out of the country in a short amount of time. The author said the Romanian state has an obligation to offer a minimum sense of protection and defence to a citizen, especially since Nistor’s case is in the ‘criminal investigation stage.’