A Russian national suspected of laundering crypto-currency ransomware payments on behalf of cybercriminals targeting hospitals has been extradited to the United States by the Netherlands. The man was reportedly involved in the criminal activity for a period of three years before his arrest in Amsterdam last November.
Dutch authorities turn over an alleged Russian money launderer to U.S. authorities.
Denis Dubnikov, a 29-year-old Russian citizen, was extradited this week from the Netherlands to the United States, where he faces money laundering charges in the U.S. District of Oregon, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
In August, a federal grand jury in Portland indicted him for his role in an international cryptocurrency laundering conspiracy.
According to the indictment, the Russian and his accomplices knowingly and intentionally laundered the proceeds of ransomware attacks on individuals and organizations throughout the United States and in other countries between at least August 2018 and August 2021.
The perpetrators specifically laundered ransom payments extracted from victims of Ryuk ransomware attacks. First identified four years ago, Ryuk is a type of software that encrypts files and attempts to delete system backups. Hospitals and healthcare providers in the United States became its victims in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As of July 2019, Denis Dubnikov is believed to have laundered more than $400,000 in this way, the DOJ said in a statement. Those involved in the conspiracy laundered at least $70 million in total. If convicted, the Russian could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Denis Dubnikov was arrested in Amsterdam on November 1, 2021. Speaking to Russian media at the time, his lawyer Arkady Bukh said he was “practically kidnapped” by American law enforcement in Mexico before being transferred to Europe.
The co-founder of bitcoin exchange platforms Coyote Crypto and Eggchange was first held at the Mexico City airport, where he had arrived on vacation, and then put on a flight to the Netherlands, where he was arrested by Dutch authorities.
This hasty transfer provoked the anger of his lawyers, who believed that he would become a “hostage” of the current geopolitical tensions surrounding the war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Moscow has accused Washington of conducting a “real hunt for Russian citizens“.