Hacker Denis Katana Implicated in Bitcoin Money Laundering Scheme for Russian Crime Syndicate


A notorious hacker, Denis Tokarenko, also known as Denis Katana, has been linked to a Russian organized crime ring by a judge in Spain. The ring was operating in the southeastern province of Alicante and used Bitcoin (BTC) for their money laundering operations due to its lack of state control.

The Pandora Papers leak, a 12 million document collection exposing offshore financial activities of prominent figures, hinted at Tokarenko’s involvement as the “Bitcoin czar.” It revealed various illicit activities such as tax evasion, money laundering, and hidden wealth.

The judge presiding over the case stated that Tokarenko provided guidance to the ring’s financial engineer, Maxim Khakimov, on purchasing and using Bitcoin to obscure their financial transactions. Khakimov and Tokarenko had a close relationship which went beyond criminal endeavors. Evidence of this was shown when Khakimov, along with his lawyer, assisted in transferring money to Tokarenko when he was first arrested in 2018. They also allegedly aided him in managing his investments and even hired hitmen to settle his debts.

Katana gained fame as a cybercriminal in 2018 when he was apprehended for his involvement in a computer program designed to attack ATMs worldwide. He was able to infect ATMs from his own home, allowing his accomplices to receive cash. Katana has been connected to multiple Bitcoin wallets, amassing a fortune of over 15,000 Bitcoin. The judge’s recent statement focused on a single wallet containing 5,000 Bitcoin, valued at approximately 55 million euros during the period of the criminal operations.

The crypto space has been facing a series of hacks and scams since the start of the year, particularly in the third quarter of 2023. Immunefi, a blockchain security platform, reported 76 hacks on crypto and Web3 projects and firms in Q3 2023, a significant increase from the 30 hacks reported in the same period in 2022. Making September 2023 a record-high month for crypto exploits, approximately $332 million has been lost to various exploits, hacks, and scams.

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