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Bitfinex hack: One partner gets bail, the other stays in jail

Bitfinex hack: One partner gets bail, the other stays in jail

The husband and wife duo who were accused last week in the Bitfinex $3.6 billion Bitcoin money laundering case had a very eventful Valentine’s Day. 

On Monday, February 14, 2022, A federal judge upheld the decision of a suspended release for the wife and TikTok rapper, Heather Morgan, while the husband and YC-backed entrepreneur, Ilya Lichtenstein has been held back in pre-trial detention.

The Chief Judge at the Federal District Court in Columbia, Beryl A. Howell ruled that Lichtenstein had the motivation and money to flee and so he must be held in detention.

Fortunately, Morgan managed to meet the $3 million bond criteria for a suspended release.

According to the New York Times, The couple’s lawyer denied that they had any motivation for fleeing the US and argued that despite being under investigation from last year, the couple had no plans of leaving the country, citing their family ties and future plans. 

Both Morgan and Lichtenstein are accused in the suspected laundering 94,000 BTC out of 119,754 BTC stolen from the Bitfinex crypto exchange as far back as 2016,

In the first investigation in 2016, the couple were not found to be involved in the hack, however after continued monitoring, it was revealed that they were actively involved in laundering the money through a complex network of accounts.

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) seized 94,000 BTC associated with the hack in possession of Lichtenstein, making it the biggest crypto seizure in the history of the agency. 

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The DoJ first followed the trail of 25,000 BTC from the Bitfinex hack to the financial accounts owned and controlled by the couple and the later recovered a total of $3.6 billion worth of BTC in their possession.

The Bitfinex hack which is the largest Bitcoin hack has already become a trending topic on social media. 

Online streaming giant, Netflix, also announced that it is producing a documentary series that will cover the theft and money laundering by the eccentric couple.

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