British Court Orders Bitfinex to Freeze $860,000 Tied to Ransomware Attack

  • A British court has ordered Bitfinex to freeze $860K in bitcoin tied to a ransomware payout. 
  • The court also asked the exchange to provide KYC information on the client who owns the account. 

A British court has ordered crypto exchange Bitfinex to freeze $860,000 in bitcoin tied to a ransomware payout. 

According to a report by New Money Review and a filing published last week by the England and Wales High Court, a British court has ordered Bitfinex to freeze the address of an account tied to a ransomware payout and share the know-your-customer information with authorities. 

The report claims that an unnamed firm paid $950,000 in bitcoin as ransom to the perpetrator account through an insurance company intermediate in response to the victim’s computers being hijacked by malware. While some of the ransom was converted to fiat, 96 BTC was transferred to an address on Bitfinex. 

Blockchain security firm Chainalysis released a statement confirming that they had participated in tracking the funds on behalf of the victim’s insurer. Chainalysis Director of Communications Maddie Kennedy said, 

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.

While Bitfinex issued a statement claiming to have “robust systems” in place to assist law enforcement, the exchange declined to confirm whether it would share client information with authorities. 

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Bitcoin Investors Reportedly Lose Millions in South African Exit Scam

Michael LaVere
  • VaultAge Solutions CEO Willie Breedt is being accused of making off with millions in investor bitcoin.
  • Breedt allegedly fled the country for Mozambique and has not communicated with investors since December 2019. 

South African cryptocurrency investors are accusing the CEO of VaultAge Solutions of stealing millions in crypto before going on the run. 

According to a report by AllAfrica, Willie Breedt, the CEO of cryptocurrency investment firm VaultAge Solutions, is presumed to be on the run after not making public communications since December 2019. The report claims Breedt was speculated to be staying near the town of Jeffrey’s Bay and that his whereabouts where being looked into by the country’s criminal investigation unit. 

However, South Africans who invested cryptocurrency with the now-defunct firm fear the CEO may have fled the country for Mozambique. 

Breedt is accused of stealing millions from bitcoin investors. The report claims VaultAge Solutions is not registered as a legitimate financial institution with the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA), despite having more than 2000 investors. 

The report quoted investor Lettie Engelbrecht from Krugersdrop, 

We are pensioners and invested R200 000. From December until April, we received payments on the growth of our investment. Since then, we never got any money. We are desperate and living on a shoestring budget.

One South African investor reportedly had deposited more than R6 million ($342,000) with Breedt’s company. 

Breedt delivered a written reply to local outlet News24, explaining, 

I am busy attending to the commitments I have made to members. The commitment is to have all the initial capital paid back by 31 May.

Colonel Katlego Mogale of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) said authorities are investigating the case but cannot reveal any more information “at this stage.”

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pixabay.com