Head of Crypto Capital Arrested in Connection With Money Laundering
Ivan Manuel Molina Lee, the president of controversial Panama-based payments processor Crypto Capital tied to Bitfinex and other major cryptocurrency exchanges, was arrested by Polish authorities.
According to local news outlet wPolityce’s report published on Oct. 24, he is suspected of money laundering and being involved in an international drug cartel.
Laundering drug cartels’ money
Per the article, Molina Lee was detained on the basis of an European Arrest Warrant issued by the prosecutor's office in Wrocław. His arrest is reportedly connected to $350 million that were seized by the Polish Ministry of Justice previously.
Notably, these seized funds belonged to Crypto SP. Z O.O. — a local firm allegedly affiliated with Crypto Capital — and Molina Lee’s arrest “was about money laundering [for] Colombian drug cartels through the cryptocurrency exchange,” the report said.
According to Industry news outlet Decrypt, several other large crypto businesses and exchanges — including Binance, Kraken and BitMEX — have also used Crypto Capital’s services in the past.
Over $850M of Bitfinex’s funds inaccessible
As Cointelegraph reported on Oct. 21, iFinex, the parent company of major cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, filed a discovery application to regain access to over $850 million in funds tied to Crypto Capital.
The request is related to the purportedly inaccessible funds kept in bank accounts in Poland, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Bitfinex chief financial officer Giancarlo Devasini explained that Ravid Yosef, a man involved with the exchange’s former payment processor Crypto Capital, provided him various documents revealing that the firm transferred Bitfinex clients’ funds between multiple banks in Europe and the U.S.
On April 25, the New York Attorney General’s office has alleged that Bitfinex lost $850 million and subsequently used funds from Tether — its affiliated stablecoin operator — to secretly cover the shortfall.
Bitfinex shareholder Zhao Dong also revealed on May 9 that the exchange has sealed $1 billion in both hard and soft commitments for its initial native exchange token offering.