Dismantle the largest Russian sales platform on the “dark” web” . and confiscate Bitcoin with 23 million euros

The German and US authorities have announced that they have dismantled the “largest” global platform for selling on the “dark” web”called” Hydra Market “and that it operates in Russia since 2015, kidnapping bitcoin for a value of 23 million euros.

“The servers of the largest darknet market in the world were confiscated and 543 were seized bitcoin for a total value of around 23 million euros “, they said in a joint statement by the Frankfurt Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Federal Criminal Police Office.

Investigators suspect the platform, which attracts 17 million customers, is being used for criminal activity and money laundering through more than 19,000 merchant accounts.

Sales on the Hydra Market platform amounted to around € 1.23 billion in 2020 alone, making it the “highest illegal market in the world,” according to the statement.

“Hydra dominates the market because Ukraine and Russia are the largest cryptocurrency users in the world,” Kim Groerre, head of research at Chainalysis, told Bloomberg.

The site in Russian language, accessible via Tor, has been used primarily for drug trafficking, data theft and forged documents.

The German authorities indicated that on the site web of the Hydra a poster had been placed indicating that the police had got their hands on it.

The use of a sophisticated service called “Bitcoin Bank Mixer” has allowed the concealment of digital financial transactions in cryptocurrencies, which made investigations more difficult, according to the Federal Criminal Police Office.

The investigations began in 2021, but the identities of the operators and managers of the platform are not yet clear.

The dismantling of the platform has been carried out in cooperation with US authorities, according to the Federal Office of the German Criminal Police.

In Washington, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “Together with our German partners, we have seized the infrastructure of the world’s largest darknet market, but our work is not done,” pledging to continue working to dismantle all these platforms on the dark net.

And the US judiciary had previously accused Russian Dmitry Pavlov, 30, of an indictment for managing the servers used to run Hydra. According to the indictment, Pavlov is being prosecuted on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering as part of a criminal gang.

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