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Russian national pleads guilty to money laundering linked to Ryuk Ransomware operation

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A Russian national pleaded guilty in the U.S. to money laundering charges linked to the Ryuk ransomware operation.

On February 7, 2023, Russian national Denis Mihaqlovic Dubnikov (30) pleaded guilty in the U.S. to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering for the Ryuk ransomware operation.

Denis Mihaqlovic Dubnikov, 30, was arrested in Amsterdam in November 2021 and was extradited to the US in August 2022.

“According to the indictment, between at least August 2018 and August 2021, Dubnikov and his co-conspirators are alleged to have knowingly and intentionally laundered the proceeds of ransomware attacks on individuals and organizations throughout the United States and abroad.” reads the press release published by DoJ in August. “Specifically, Dubnikov and his accomplices laundered ransom payments extracted from victims of Ryuk ransomware attacks.”

The man received ransom payments from Ryuk operators and along with his co-conspirators used various financial transactions to conceal the ownership and the nature of the laundered proceeds.

According to the investigators, in July 2019, Dubnikov laundered more than $400,000 in Ryuk ransom proceeds. Individuals involved in the conspiracy laundered at least $70 million in ransom proceeds.

“Specifically, in July 2019, a United States-based company paid a 250 Bitcoin Ryuk ransom after a ransomware attack. On or about July 11, 2019, in Moscow, Russia, Dubnikov accepted 35 Bitcoin from a co-conspirator in exchange for approximately $400,000.” reads the press release. “The Bitcoin transferred to Dubnikov were directly sourced from the ransom paid by the American company. Dubnikov converted the Bitcoin to Tether and sent it to a second co-conspirator, who eventually exchanged it for Chinese Renminbi. Dubnikov’s co-conspirators laundered additional Bitcoin sourced from the original ransom payment. Dubnikov was compensated financially for his role in the scheme.”

Dubnikov will be sentenced on April 11, 2023.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Ryuk ransomware)

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