Two residents of the Russian city of Tomsk will be tried for “large-scale robbery” involving the theft of cryptocurrency worth millions of rubles from a local miner. The digital coins were stolen from the owner at gunpoint, authorities said, adding that both criminals are now in custody.
Thieves Face Trial in Russia for Armed Robbery of Cryptocurrency Miner
The Kirovsky Court of Tomsk will soon try two men for their attack on another resident of the Siberian city who made a living by mining cryptocurrencies. They were able to extort from him coins worth more than 360 million rubles at the time (over $4.8 million), the Russian crypto news outlet Bits.media reported.
The crime took place in October 2021. The perpetrators attacked the cryptocurrency miner when he was leaving his home. One of them threatened him with an object resembling a gun and brought him back inside his apartment.
Then, his accomplice came in and the two forced the victim to log into his account on a crypto exchange and transfer them 86 BTC from a wallet that contained 90 BTC. It’s unclear why they decided not to withdraw the full balance.
Russian law enforcement managed to track and detain one of the suspects in St. Petersburg. He has since pleaded guilty and returned the fiat equivalent of a portion of the stolen digital cash — 35 million rubles (close to $479,000 at current exchange rates). The second man was arrested later.
The regional prosecutor’s office has charged the attackers with “robbery committed by a group of persons on an especially large scale” under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. They face up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to 1 million rubles.
Attacks against people owning and earning cryptocurrency have been on the rise in Russia. In July, 2021, armed robbers plundered a large mining farm near Moscow, stealing dozens of video cards used to mint digital currencies. Also last year, $1 million in tether was taken away from a crypto trader in the Russian capital.
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Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’s quote: “Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.
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