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Author Topic: [2017-12-29] FT: EXMO Director Released From Kidnap After Paying $1 Mln Ransom  (Read 65 times)
cybersofts
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December 29, 2017, 11:49:57 PM
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FT: EXMO Director Released From Kidnap After Paying $1 Mln Ransom



Pavel Lerner, the managing director of the cryptocurrency exchange EXMO kidnapped in Kiev Dec. 27, was released today after paying a $1 mln ransom in Bitcoin, The Financial Times (FT) reports.

Lerner was abducted in Kiev on Wednesday leaving his office. Ukrainian online publication Strana.ua was first to report that he was taken away by “unknown persons” in a black Mercedes Benz.

FT reports they were informed of the ransom payment by Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister. Gerashchenko told FT:

    “He was kidnapped by an armed gang for the purpose of extorting Bitcoins. We have operative information that he paid more than $1 mln worth of Bitcoins.”

In an article published today, Strana.ua reported that sources in the local police believe the kidnappers were frightened into releasing Lerner after the story of his abduction garnered so much attention globally.


EXMO reps release statement

Today EXMO released an official statement about Lerner’s abduction. The statement reports that the company “got a hold” of Lerner today and that he is currently safe:

    “At the moment, he is safe, and there was no physical harm inflicted on him. Nevertheless, Pavel is currently in a state of major stress; therefore, he will not provide any official comments in the coming days.”

The EXMO statement contains no mention of a ransom paid of any amount. In the statement, the exchange repeated that Lerner’s abduction in no way affected the company’s usual functioning:

    “We would also like to point out that Pavel’s activity at EXMO did not involve an access to financial assets of our users. Despite the aforementioned, the platform continues its usual operations.”

However, according to the company’s official Twitter, the exchange was under DDoS attack just yesterday, Dec. 28.

    EXMO is under the DDoS attack.

    The site will be available within half an hour.

    We apologize for the temporary inconvenience.

    Sincerely, The EXMO Team
    — EXMO (@Exmo_com) December 28, 2017

According to Strana.ua, Lerner is a Russian citizen who holds a residence permit in Poland and is involved in a number of crypto/ Blockchain startups in Ukraine. FT reports that EXMO is officially registered in the UK, but has “operations in Ukraine.”

As per EXMO’s official statement today, the investigation into Lerner’s abduction continues and the identities of the kidnappers are still unknown. Once identified, the perpetrators could face up to five years imprisonment, in accordance with article 146.2 of the Ukrainian criminal code, which covers abduction for “mercenary purposes” or by a group of people “upon their prior conspiracy.”


Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/ft-exmo-director-released-from-kidnap-after-paying-1-mln-ransom
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December 30, 2017, 11:40:55 AM
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Damn, criminals are really going one step further. Scamming and hacking is one thing, but kidnapping, this is one of the worst thing a criminal can do in order to extort money from the rich bitcoin holders. I felt sorry for Pavel Lerner, and I'm sure he went through hell with the kidnappers. I would also like to see authorities to track the bitcoin address so that they can caught the perpetrators and put them to jailed. I'm sure that there are really tools out there to follow and identify the name behind the bitcoin address. And we don't want this to be a precedence for other criminals to do this kind of extortion. I hope that Pavel Lerner is OK by now and at least give the authorities some clue as to who are the people behind.

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December 30, 2017, 01:46:16 PM
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From now on, every exchanges operator have to be careful in every situation that might lead to such criminals attempt.
It's inevitable since they are known as the personage in big exchanges, operators are the preys for criminals out there.
Pavel is currently in a state of major stress, he has lost $1 Million in bitcoin, whoever experienced the same thing will feel it, how pity he is.
This incident just make the name of bitcoin become worse as people may think; criminals can receive ransomware in for of bitcoin as the easy way to get money.
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December 30, 2017, 02:25:10 PM
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Damn, criminals are really going one step further. Scamming and hacking is one thing, but kidnapping, this is one of the worst thing a criminal can do in order to extort money from the rich bitcoin holders.

It's nothing more than business as usual for criminals. The only thing they see is that person is in a position to hand them over millions in funds, and that's directly also their main motive. Bitcoin isn't anything special in this case, because it could have been Gold, diamonds, cash, or expensive artworks, or whatever other items holding massive value. It's however a weird exchange in all honesty. It can't officially be proven, so it can't be taken for granted, but there have been various similarities and potential links between EXMO and BTC-E, making things a bit suspicious. Either way, glad that he is released and all fine despite what he has gone through, because no money is worth being badly farmed for.

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December 30, 2017, 03:16:51 PM
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Damn, criminals are really going one step further. Scamming and hacking is one thing, but kidnapping, this is one of the worst thing a criminal can do in order to extort money from the rich bitcoin holders.

It's nothing more than business as usual for criminals. The only thing they see is that person is in a position to hand them over millions in funds, and that's directly also their main motive. Bitcoin isn't anything special in this case, because it could have been Gold, diamonds, cash, or expensive artworks, or whatever other items holding massive value. It's however a weird exchange in all honesty. It can't officially be proven, so it can't be taken for granted, but there have been various similarities and potential links between EXMO and BTC-E, making things a bit suspicious. Either way, glad that he is released and all fine despite what he has gone through, because no money is worth being badly farmed for.

Bitcoin is different from physical money, because there's no need for physical contact, making it probably the best method for all kinds of ransoms. When criminals were receiving ransom in cash, they had to come up with some complex systems to avoid leaving traces when they pick it up, but with Bitcoin they can be anywhere on the globe. With cenralized electronic systems it also wasn't possible, because payments can be easily rolled back and it's hard to preserve anonymity. But with Bitcoin criminals can run coins through mixer, than exchange them for Monero and eventually cash out.

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December 30, 2017, 03:40:55 PM
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Bitcoin is different from physical money, because there's no need for physical contact, making it probably the best method for all kinds of ransoms. When criminals were receiving ransom in cash, they had to come up with some complex systems to avoid leaving traces when they pick it up, but with Bitcoin they can be anywhere on the globe. With cenralized electronic systems it also wasn't possible, because payments can be easily rolled back and it's hard to preserve anonymity. But with Bitcoin criminals can run coins through mixer, than exchange them for Monero and eventually cash out.

cases like these will cause many governments to use this "anonymity" argument to prohibit bitcoin and altcoin in their countries. As you said, using fiat is very complicated for the kidnappers, in my country for example had a period of time where the kidnappings were every day and what allowed to reduce the number of kidnappings were the banks that began to work with the police... But what if my country's kidnappers use bitcoin or monero? the police would not find them and kidnap cases would increase




This is a very strange case, I am of the opinion that government people are involved in this hijacking, this would be a case to discourage people from using bitcoin or altcoins.



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December 30, 2017, 06:01:55 PM
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Very simple, release the address or addresses the coins were sent to, so services can freeze them directly. The more the economical majority gets aware of this, the less spending possibilities there will be for these criminals. It's pretty easy for people being capable of proper blockchain analysis to follow the trails of these coins endlessly. I am glad that there is no such a thing as blacklisting coins in the way that they can't be used anymore, but in these circumstances it would be more than helpful. I strongly believe that one way or another, these coins will get sold to innocent people through peer to peer market places.
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December 30, 2017, 07:19:57 PM
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Very simple, release the address or addresses the coins were sent to, so services can freeze them directly. The more the economical majority gets aware of this, the less spending possibilities there will be for these criminals. It's pretty easy for people being capable of proper blockchain analysis to follow the trails of these coins endlessly. I am glad that there is no such a thing as blacklisting coins in the way that they can't be used anymore, but in these circumstances it would be more than helpful. I strongly believe that one way or another, these coins will get sold to innocent people through peer to peer market places.

Blockchain analysis takes time, and by that time criminals would be able to run their coins through mixers dozens of time if they wanted, but in reality they would run just a few time and then buy Monero or other privacy coins, do some transactions and then sell those privacy coins back for BTC on new accounts. Exchanges are trying to prevent that by tightening their KYC policies, but that's not going to work, criminals will use p2p markets, small exchanges, atomic swaps and so on.

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December 30, 2017, 08:06:06 PM
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Blockchain analysis takes time, and by that time criminals would be able to run their coins through mixers dozens of time if they wanted, but in reality they would run just a few time and then buy Monero or other privacy coins, do some transactions and then sell those privacy coins back for BTC on new accounts. Exchanges are trying to prevent that by tightening their KYC policies, but that's not going to work, criminals will use p2p markets, small exchanges, atomic swaps and so on.

As I mentioned already, if the addresses these coins are being sent to are released, services can just look out for them and freeze them as soon as they come in as deposit. It would make these coins far less usable for these criminals, which at the same time is the best way of handling this situation. At that point the only logical route for the criminals to walk is to go for decentralized exchanges, but then still, it doesn't guarantee them any actual freedom or anonymity. These coins will end up in the pockets of innocent people, that's pretty much a guarantee. It's like how a drug kingpin uses his dealers to distribute small bags of whatever substitute, these coins will be sold to noob buyers.
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December 30, 2017, 08:29:50 PM
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As I mentioned already, if the addresses these coins are being sent to are released, services can just look out for them and freeze them as soon as they come in as deposit. It would make these coins far less usable for these criminals, which at the same time is the best way of handling this situation. At that point the only logical route for the criminals to walk is to go for decentralized exchanges, but then still, it doesn't guarantee them any actual freedom or anonymity. These coins will end up in the pockets of innocent people, that's pretty much a guarantee. It's like how a drug kingpin uses his dealers to distribute small bags of whatever substitute, these coins will be sold to noob buyers.

It's still very easy to hide those coins. They can make an account on one of the exchanges that aren't dealing in fiat and don't require an ID, or on an exchange that does, using a fake ID. Then buy XMR, move it to another exchange, sell for any other widely acceptable coin like LTC or BCH, divide into smaller packets and enjoy.
I don't believe that any exchange monitors the origin of the coins that are being sent to them. Maybe if they deposited coins worth $1m all at once, but who does that? They are going to get away with it if they're smart.
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December 31, 2017, 05:35:20 PM
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Blockchain analysis takes time, and by that time criminals would be able to run their coins through mixers dozens of time if they wanted, but in reality they would run just a few time and then buy Monero or other privacy coins, do some transactions and then sell those privacy coins back for BTC on new accounts. Exchanges are trying to prevent that by tightening their KYC policies, but that's not going to work, criminals will use p2p markets, small exchanges, atomic swaps and so on.
These coins will end up in the pockets of innocent people, that's pretty much a guarantee. It's like how a drug kingpin uses his dealers to distribute small bags of whatever substitute, these coins will be sold to noob buyers.

And for this reason no one actually blacklists any addresses, because it would just make things worse for normal users. Because addresses are not accounts like in Ethereum, but actually more like coins that can be melted, most coins in existence carry some "taint" from illegal transactions, including ransom. Bitcoin transactions are only easily traceable if criminals don't know what they are doing - in this case they might easily get caught, but those who do their research will easily hide their traces.

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December 31, 2017, 05:42:10 PM
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Bitcoin is different from physical money, because there's no need for physical contact, making it probably the best method for all kinds of ransoms.

There are going to be some very creative crypto crimes in the future. I can imagine your self driving car being hacked and being forced to hand something over to avoid smacking into a cliff. We're all ready seeing this Swatting shit going on.

At the same time no police force takes online crime anywhere as seriously as physical crime. To an extent that's understandable as there's no physical threat but at some point they'll need to shape up.

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December 31, 2017, 06:20:40 PM
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What a way to end the year and this does not leave a good name for cryptocurrencies but tthis is good publicity too just as they say bad press is good publicity , just hope these kidnappers do not try this again because they wont be lucky twice and its great news to know that  EXMO Director was not harmed in any way hope this wasn't some inside job or something.

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December 31, 2017, 06:35:45 PM
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What a way to end the year and this does not leave a good name for cryptocurrencies but tthis is good publicity too just as they say bad press is good publicity , just hope these kidnappers do not try this again because they wont be lucky twice and its great news to know that  EXMO Director was not harmed in any way hope this wasn't some inside job or something.

Kindnapping isn't anything new. Criminality will keep occuring no matter what form money takes. Golden ingots, cash or bitcoin it really doesn't matter. It's not like criminality is bitcoin-specific.
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December 31, 2017, 08:04:42 PM
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At least he will be able to begin the new year with his friends and family instead of being held in a cell by some gangsters. No money is able to buy that. He lost a lot but I'm a believer and think the authorities will eventually be able to track them down and return some of the stolen coins.

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