FBI Arrests Russian Rapper Accused of Cryptocurrency Laundering

United States authorities have arrested a Russian rapper who is alleged of crypto money laundering while using his Instagram post as evidence against him, Cointelegraph reported last week.

According to court documents, rapper Maksim Boiko is accused of crypto money laundering by the FBI. The Bureau claims that Boiko laundered money through the crypto exchange platform BTC-e. Moreover, Boiko is also accused of conspiring with QQAAZZ, a transnational organized crime organization.

Seemingly a resident of Los Angeles, California, Boiko entered the United States on January 19 with $20,000. As per the FBI affidavit, Boiko told airport security that the money came from investments in Bitcoin and other rental properties in Russia. The authorities did not trust his explanation and Boiko was later arrested on March 27.

The court filings do not mention that Boiko also works as a small-time rapper operating under the name Plinofficial. He had allegedly used email address plinofficial@me.com to register an account on BTC-e under his real name. According to the FBI, “data from BTC-e showed that Boiko’s account had received $387,964 worth of deposits and had withdrawn approximately 136 Bitcoin.”

Though the affidavit alleges that Boiko’s money laundering began in 2015, Cointelegraph located a picture on social media platform VKontakte featuring Boiko holding stacks of 5,000-ruble bills — the highest denomination currently issued in Russia.

A major player in Boiko’s drama is BTC-e, a crypto exchange that was shut down by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2017.

This past fall, reports circulated alleging that nearly half a billion dollars-worth of BTC lost on the exchange had gone to Russian intelligence agency, the FSB.