Following a previous denial by an Estonian circuit court, the local government has, once again, approved the extradition of two of its citizens suspected of cryptocurrency fraud to the United States.
The suspects are accused of running a fake crypto service that defrauded unsuspecting victims of over $500 million.
- According to local news outlet Postimees, Ivan Turogin and Sergei Potapenko will be extradited to the US, with Estonia’s Ministry of Justice stating that there was sufficient evidence to show that the extradition conditions of the suspects have been satisfied.
- The latest development came shortly after the Tallinn Circuit Court blocked a previous extradition approval by the government. Part of the court’s ruling stated that the Estonian authorities failed to check if the extradition would infringe on the fundamental rights of the individuals.
- Turogin and Potapenko operated a cryptocurrency mining business called HashFlare and a crypto bank, Polybius, which the US Department of Justice (DOJ) described as a Ponzi scheme.
- Through the fraudulent crypto service, the men were able to get $575 million from investors, which they laundered through shell companies to purchase real estate and luxury cars.
- Following the arrest of Turogin and Potapenko in November 2022, the DOJ charged the men with 16 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
- With their extradition to the United States already approved, Turogin and Potapenko could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of their crimes. Meanwhile, it is unknown when the suspects will be handed over to the US.
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