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Friday, December 8, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Liberty Reserve Founder Heading to Manhattan

MANHATTAN (CN) - Over the past few months, U.S. prosecutors have been closing in on the staff of Costa Rican-based Liberty Reserve, the online digital currency service the government has labeled the "bank of choice for the criminal underworld."

The U.S. Attorneys' Office marked its fourth guilty plea in the case last month.

The bank's former chief technology officer Mark Marmiley, information technology manager Maxim Chukharev, co-founder Vladimir Kats and deputy director Azzeddine el Amine all copped to federal offenses.

On Friday, prosecutors announced the extradition of Liberty Reserve's founder Arthur Budosky, who was arrested in Spain in May 2013.

Budosky will appear in New York before U.S. District Judge Denise Cote on Tuesday afternoon.

Liberty Reserve was not Budosky's maiden effort at creating a hub for anonymous transactions online.

New York state prosecutors convicted Budosky in 2006 for operated the unlicensed money transmitting business Gold Age Inc.

He allegedly renounced his U.S. citizenship five years later and emigrated to Costa Rica.

In 2011, he told U.S. immigration authorities that he decided to move to the Central American nation out of concern that the "software" his "company" was developing "might open him up to liability in the U.S," prosecutors say

Liberty Reserve's untraceable transactions facilitated "a broad range of online criminal activity, including credit card fraud, identity theft, investment fraud, computer hacking, child pornography, and narcotics trafficking," according to his federal indictment.

The bank allowed users to open accounts under false names, including "blatantly criminal monikers as 'Russia Hackers' and 'Hacker Account,'" prosecutors say.

He will be arraigned on Oct. 14 at 12:45 pm.

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