Reports of the detention of Dmitry Vasiliev, ex-head of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange Wex, have been confirmed by authorities in Poland. The former executive of the platform, allegedly involved in the theft of funds worth millions of dollars, faces possible extradition to Kazakhstan.
Prosecutor’s Office Confirms Vasiliev Is in Custody in Poland
Dmitry Vasiliev, who once managed the largest Russian crypto exchange, was apprehended at the Warsaw airport in early August but the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza broke the news last week, quoting undisclosed sources. A representative of the regional Prosecutor’s Office in the capital city has now confirmed the arrest to Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency.
The 34-year-old Russian citizen headed the now-defunct Wex, a successor of the infamous BTC-e exchange, before it was sold to a Ukrainian businessman-turned separatist fighter, Dmitry Havchenko, in late 2018. The digital asset trading platform halted withdrawals earlier that year and eventually went bankrupt.
While Vasiliev officially owned Wex’s Singapore-based operator, the BBC Russian Service has previously revealed that Wex belonged to Aleksey Bilyuchenko, a partner of BTC-e alleged administrator Alexander Vinnik. The Russian IT specialist, accused of laundering up to $9 billion through BTC-e, was sentenced this past December to five years in prison by France which rejected Vinnik’s extradition to Russia.
Polish police detained the former Wex CEO with help from Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization. The Warsaw Prosecutor’s Office official noted that a “request for the extradition of Dmitry V. was sent by Kazakhstan.” Vasiliev is wanted in the Central Asian country since 2019 on accusations of fraud related to the exchange. Poland is yet to decide whether to hand him over.
The crypto entrepreneur has been in custody since Aug. 11, when Polish authorities placed him under temporary arrest for an initial period of 40 days. Dmitry Vasiliev is suspected of involvement in the disappearance of $450 million worth of assets belonging to citizens of EU member states and other countries around the world.
On Monday, someone ordered the transfer of 9,916 ETH, worth over $30 million, from a wallet belonging to Wex, crypto news outlet Forklog reported. The transaction, still pending confirmation at the time of writing, has been initiated after 100 ETH were withdrawn from the wallet on Sept. 15. The publication noted that was the first movement of funds in the wallet in the past three years.