BTC-e Pledges to Return Customer Bitcoin Days After Police Seize Domain

31 July 2017

A forum account long associated with the operators of the BTC-e digital currency exchange has posted new statements days after international law enforcement officials moved to shutter the service.

As CoinDesk reported last week, police in Greece moved to arrest Alexander Vinnik, whom they accused of laundering roughly $4 billion through BTC-e, including funds connected to the now-defunct Japanese bitcoin exchange Mt Gox. U.S. prosecutors later unveiled a raft of charges against BTC-e and Vinnik, and a $110 million fine was handed down from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

Amidst these developments, however, the only statements to emerge from BTC-e was a single tweet on July 26, which pledged that the site would return to working order in the next five to 10 days.

Roughly five hours ago, however, in a statement on the Bitcoin Talk forum (that was tweeted out via its official account), representatives for the exchange issued new comments, including a pledge to return users’ funds.

The statement read:

“For all those who buried us, I will remind you that the service has always worked on trust and we are ready to answer for it. The funds will be returned to everyone!”

The message also confirmed that BTC-e’s data center had been raided by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation on July 25, during which time the agency “seized all equipment, the servers contained databases and purses of our service.”

Notably, the statement pushed back on claims that Vinnik was an employee of BTC-e, with the operators stating: “officially declare – Alexander was never the head or employee of our service.” In announcing the charges against Vinnik, the US Department of Justice had asserted that he was the “operator” of BTC-e.

The BTC-e statement went on to say that more information would be released in the next two weeks, including an account of “how much money fell into the hands of the FBI and what amount of funds is available for return.”

Law enforcement badge image via Shutterstock