FBI arrests Russian rapper for crypto money laundering, Instagram quotes damning

US authorities have arrested a Russian national accused of money laundering – using his Instagram account which promoted his rap career as evidence against him.

By yard deposits unsealed on March 30, an FBI investigator alleged that Maksim Boiko had laundered money using cryptocurrencies, including through the disgraced BTC-e exchange. Authorities also claim that Boiko conspired with the transnational organized crime organization QQAAZZ.

Initial detention at Miami Airport in January

Apparently a Los Angeles resident, Boiko entered the United States on January 19 with $ 20,000 in cash. According to the FBI affidavit, Boiko told airport security that his money came from investments in Bitcoin and rental properties in Russia.

Skeptical of this explanation, authorities reportedly arrest Boiko in Miami on March 27.

Rap career and questionable source of income

What the documents do not mention is that Boiko is also a small rapper operating as Plinofficial – a name also used in an email address the FBI has identified as being linked to money laundering operations. money.

Boiko allegedly used the [email protected] email address to create an account on BTC-e under his real name. According to the FBI, “BTC-e data showed that Boiko’s account had received $ 387,964 in deposits and had withdrawn around 136 Bitcoins.”

At press time, Plinoffial’s Youtube Account had 336 subscribers, while its Instagram at 2.363.

Social media proof

Boiko’s social media presence was apparently a factor in the investigation. The FBI investigator testifying against Boiko said the photos on his Instagram are:

“This is not in line with the practices of a legitimate business transaction and is consistent with the allegations set forth herein that Boiko has engaged in illegal money laundering activities with major cybercriminals over the past few years. years. ”

Indeed, Boiko seems very fond of photos of him holding large wads of banknotes. The dossier cites the photos below, published on his Instagram on May 13, 2017 and March 24, 2016, respectively and still visible at the time of publication:

Source: Boiko’s Instagram

Source: Boiko’s Instagram. Cointelegraph blocked an ethnic insult in one of the comments.

Although the affidavit alleges that Boiko’s money laundering began in 2015, Cointelegraph located a similar image on the social media platform VKontakte showing Boiko holding stacks of 5,000 ruble bills – the highest denomination. currently issued in Russia:

Source: VK.com

Boiko is scheduled for a detention hearing tomorrow, April 2.

The role of BTC-e in crypto laundering

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

Last fall, reports circulated alleging that nearly half a billion dollars in BTC lost in the exchange went to the Russian intelligence agency, the FSB.