Estonian duo accused of $575m cryptocurrency scam

Police in Estonia have arrested two men suspected of running a $575m cryptocurrency scam involving hundreds of thousands of victims, the BBC reports.

Estonian police investigated the case with the FBI, and US authorities want to extradite the pair – Estonians Sergei Potapenko and Ivan Turogin.

The two 37-year-olds allegedly got people to invest in a cryptocurrency mining service called HashFlare and a fake virtual bank called Polybius.

A US indictment has been issued.

A statement from the US Department of Justice (DoJ) says the pair are accused of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering – crimes punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The defendants have appeared in court in the Estonian capital Tallinn and are being held pending extradition to the US, the statement says.

There was no immediate comment from their representatives.

Giving details of the alleged scheme, the DoJ says the two defrauded victims by offering them the chance to buy into HashFlare’s cryptocurrency mining operations.

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