Dmitry Vasiliev, co-owner and former CEO of now-defunct Russian crypto exchange Wex, was arrested upon entering Croatia, local media reported. The crypto entrepreneur is wanted by Kazakhstan, where he is accused of stealing money from an investor.

Wex manager Vasiliev arrested at Zagreb airport

Belarus-born Dmitry Vasiliev, former CEO of Wex, once the largest crypto trading platform in the former Soviet space, was arrested at Franjo Tudjman Airport in the Croatian capital on Wednesday, May 25, Jutarnji List reported.

According to the daily, the authorities in Zagreb acted on a red arrest warrant issued by Interpol at the request of Kazakhstan. Vasiliev, who lives in the Russian Federation, is wanted in the Central Asian country for cheating an investor out of $20,000.

Kazakh law enforcement agencies have been seeking Vasiliev’s extradition for some time, but the crime he is accused of there is relatively minor compared to other alleged offences. Wex went bankrupt in 2018 and according to estimates by a group of users, total losses exceed $400 million.

The news of Vasiliev’s detention in Croatia comes after the Polish press revealed last September that he was arrested at Warsaw Airport in mid-August and awaiting extradition to Kazakhstan. In December it was reported that he had returned to Russia after his release.

The crypto businessman was also briefly detained in Italy about two years ago, but Italian authorities released him after several weeks, citing flaws in the extradition request. He was able to return to St. Petersburg, the second largest city in Russia, where he lives.

In March 2022, Russia’s Interior Ministry announced the arrest of a man accused of stealing financial assets from a cryptocurrency exchange. Although neither the person nor the platform has been identified, a report suggested that it was Aleksey Bilyuchenko, another Wex co-founder.

In 2017, Wex was founded as a successor to the notorious BTC e-exchange, which was shut down earlier in the year following the arrest of one of its alleged operators, Alexander Vinnik, in Greece. The US accuses him of having laundered up to $9 billion via the trading platform. Vinnik was extradited to France, where he was sentenced to five years in prison in December 2020, and is also wanted by Russia.

tags in this story

Arrested Belarusian BTC-e CEO Croatia Croatian Crypto Crypto Exchange Cryptocurrencies Cryptocurrency Imprisoned Dmitry Vasiliev Exchange Executive Fraud INTERPOL Kazakhstan Owner Russian Theft Vasiliev Wex

Do you think Dmitry Vasiliev will be released by the authorities in Croatia? Tell us in the comment section below.

Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchen’s quote: “Being a writer is what I am, not what I do.” Along with crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and business are two other sources of inspiration.

photo credit: Shutterstock, Pixabay, WikiCommons

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