FBI Arrests Russian Rapper for Crypto Laundering After Flaunting Wealth on Instagram

  • The FBI arrested Russian rapper Maxim Boyko on charges related to cryptocurrency laundering.
  • Authorities say Boyko, who has ties to now-defunct exchange BTC-e, was flaunting "substantial" sums of money on social media.

The Federal Burea of Investigation (FBI) has arrested a Russian rapper in the United States on charges of cryptocurrency laundering. 

According to a report by The Moscow Times, authorities arrested Maxim Boyko, 29, in a Miami condo on Friday. Boyko first came to the US with his wife and January and told customs agents his earnings came from bitcoin investments and rental properties in Russa. Boyko also operated several social media pages promoting himself as a rap artist under the alias Plinoffiical. 

The report claims Boyko’s Instagram page showed him flashing large sums of money, giving authorities a tip-off. 

In a request for an arrest warrant on Mar. 27, an FBI agent wrote, 

[Boyko’s] Instagram social media and Apple iCloud accounts include photographs of him with substantial sums of U.S. and foreign currencies dating back as far as 2015.

Authorities were able to trace the Russian rapper’s iCloud account to now-defunct crypto exchange BTC-e. According to the report, Boyko’s account had received almost $388,000 and withdrawn 136 bitcoin until the exchange was seized by authorities in mid-2017. 

The FBI alleges that Boyko is linked to an organized crime group by the name QQAAZZ which has facilitated the theft of “tens of millions of dollars.”

Boyko faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. 

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