Police in New Zealand have seized assets worth NZ$140 million ($90.68 million) linked to a Russian man suspected of laundering billions of dollars in digital currency.

The police said it seized the assets because they were being held in a New Zealand company owned by Alexander Vinnik, who is accused of masterminding a bitcoin laundering ring and is wanted by both France and the United States.

The police described it as the largest restraint of funds in New Zealand’s history.

U.S. authorities accuse Vinnik of running BTC-e – a digital currency exchange used to trade bitcoin – to facilitate crimes ranging from computer hacking to drug trafficking since 2011.

Vinnik has denied the charges, saying he was a technical consultant to BTC-e and not its operator. He was arrested on money laundering allegations in Greece in 2017 and has since been extradited to France where he remains in custody. He is also wanted in Russia on lesser charges.


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