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Canada’s police have seized bitcoin worth more than $28 million from a former government employee who has been extradited to the U.S. to “face charges for dozens of ransomware attacks resulting in the payment of tens of millions of dollars in ransoms.”
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Thursday that a former Canadian government employee was extradited the previous day from Canada to the U.S. to “face charges for dozens of ransomware attacks resulting in the payment of tens of millions of dollars in ransoms.”
The DOJ detailed that from April through December 2020, Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins “conspired to and did intentionally damage a protected computer and transmit a ransom demand in connection with doing so.” The Justice Department launched a coordinated international law enforcement action to disrupt ransomware group Netwalker in January last year.
The indictment charges the 34-year-old Canadian from Gatineau, Quebec, “with conspiracy to commit computer fraud and wire fraud, intentional damage to a protected computer, and transmitting a demand in relation to damaging a protected computer arising from his alleged participation in a sophisticated form of ransomware known as Netwalker.”
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division commented:
We will use all legally available avenues to pursue seizure and forfeiture of the alleged proceeds of ransomware, whether located domestically or abroad.
“The department will not cease to pursue and seize cryptocurrency ransoms, thereby thwarting the attempts of ransomware actors to evade law enforcement through the use of virtual currency,” he continued.
Canadian law enforcement officers arrested Vachon-Desjardins in Quebec on Jan. 27 last year at the request of U.S. authorities, the DOJ said Thursday, adding that they proceeded to execute a search warrant at his home.
According to the Justice Department:
During the search, officers discovered and seized 719 bitcoin, valued at approximately $28,151,582 as of today’s date, and $790,000 in Canadian currency.
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