New data shows Russian entities could be behind FTX hack
- Certain factors suggested a sophisticated operation with a possible international reach.
- The report found that “significant amounts are combined with funds from Russia-linked criminal groups.”
Elliptic, the blockchain surveillance firm, has raised the possibility of a connection between the FTX hacker and a Russian-linked entity. On 4 October, about $15 million worth of the stolen cryptocurrency was transferred. This was when FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was reportedly in court without internet access.
Elliptic released a detailed timeline of on-chain activities related to the stolen funds, revealing that a significant portion of the proceeds was converted to Bitcoin [BTC] and routed through ChipMixer, an unlicensed Bitcoin privacy mixer closed by the US Justice Department earlier in the year.
Intriguing clues uncovered in investigation
Elliptic’s report suggested that a huge portion of the stolen assets that can be traced through ChipMixer was mixed with funds from Russia-linked criminal groups. The funds were then sent to decentralized exchanges.
Some of the groups include ransomware gangs and darknet markets. This implies the participation of a broker or intermediary with ties to Russia.
The FTX exchange lost 9,500 Ethereum [ETH] and other crypto assets worth approximately $477 million during the hack in November the previous year. The hacker transferred the stolen assets from one of FTX’s wallets to a new address, which included Pax Gold [PAXG], Tether [USDT], Wrapped Bitcoin [WBTC], and more.
This revelation about the potential Russian connection could significantly impact the investigation and recovery efforts. Security experts and law enforcement agencies are likely to intensify their focus on any links with Russian entities.
The timing of the crypto movements, combined with the involvement of ChipMixer and the co-mingling of funds with Russia-linked criminal groups, suggests a sophisticated operation with a possible international reach.
FTX court proceedings continue
In the ongoing court proceedings involving former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX, shocking revelations have emerged. Ellison delved deeper into the web of deception orchestrated by Sam Bankman-Fried to sustain FTX.
In the first day of hearing, it was disclosed that FTX customer funds were used to purchase Binance’s stake. This was due to concerns that Binance might pose a threat.
The second day’s testimony revealed grim details, including accounting fraud and Chinese bribes to recover frozen funds. An involvement with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was also hinted.