• Squaremouth travel insurance button 468x106
  • Tico Travel Surfing
  • Costa Rica Real Estate
  • Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Liberty Reserve’s Maxim Chukharev pleads guilty to operating an unlicensed money transmitting business

September 23, 2014

Read all of our stories on the Liberty Reserve case here.

NEW YORK – The head of technology for Liberty Reserve, an alternative digital currency used in what authorities called a massive global fraud scheme, pleaded guilty Tuesday to criminal charges.

U.S. prosecutors said Maxim Chukharev, 28, of Costa Rica, pleaded guilty in New York federal court to conspiring to operate an illegal unlicensed money transmitting business.

Sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 30, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a Justice Department statement said.

Chukharev was one of seven people charged in May 2013 when federal authorities announced they had shut down what was described as one of the world’s biggest money laundering schemes.

Investigators said the scheme laundered more than $6 billion in criminal proceeds between 2006 and 2013 by establishing accounts using the alternative Liberty Reserve currency.

The digital exchange mechanism, which allowed depositors to mask their identities, was similar to bitcoin and other digital currencies.

“Liberty Reserve was used extensively for illegal purposes, functioning as the bank of choice for the criminal underworld,” a Justice Department statement said.

It “was created, structured and operated to help users conduct illegal transactions anonymously and launder the proceeds of their crimes,” the statement added.

Liberty Reserve’s principals were arrested in a roundup last year in Costa Rica, Spain and New York, sealing the fate of a company that had been one of the most successful in the popular but increasingly scrutinized world of unofficial banking and virtual currencies.

The indictment accused Liberty Reserve founder Arthur Budovsky — a former U.S. citizen who took Costa Rican nationality — and his partners of creating a firm that masqueraded as a convenient and legitimate money transfer system.

Before being shut down, Liberty Reserve had more than a million users worldwide, including more than 200,000 in the United States, with transactions totaling more than $6 billion in funds, officials said.

Three co-defendants — Vladimir Kats, Azzeddine el Amine, and Mark Marmilev — previously pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Charges are pending against the three others.

The probe involved law enforcement in 17 countries and is believed to be the largest money laundering prosecution in history, prosecutors said.

Recommended: A Russian patsy or high-tech criminal?

You may be interested

Costa Rica up to 330 coronavirus cases, fourth person recovered
Costa Rica
6258 views
Costa Rica
6258 views

Costa Rica up to 330 coronavirus cases, fourth person recovered

Alejandro Zúñiga - March 30, 2020

Costa Rica has confirmed 330 cases of the novel coronavirus, the Health Ministry announced Monday afternoon. The figure marks a…

More than 100,000 layoffs as 40% of Costa Rica’s restaurants close
Costa Rica
179 views
Costa Rica
179 views

More than 100,000 layoffs as 40% of Costa Rica’s restaurants close

AFP and The Tico Times - March 30, 2020

Some 100,000 restaurant workers in Costa Rica have lost their jobs after the closure of more than 40% of the…

News briefs: Start your week with positive stories from Costa Rica
Costa Rica
940 views
Costa Rica
940 views

News briefs: Start your week with positive stories from Costa Rica

Alejandro Zúñiga - March 30, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted daily life in Costa Rica, which has declared a State of Emergency and enacted sweeping…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!