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Russia Massive Corruption Case Reveals $ 24 Million Bitcoin Bribe

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In a stunning revelation, one of the most significant corruption-related criminal cases in recent years has come to light, shaking the foundations of law enforcement in Russia. Marat Tambiev, an investigator with the Investigative Committee, was discovered to have accepted a staggering bribe worth nearly $24 million in Bitcoin. The bribe was provided by hackers who were involved in an ongoing investigation, but Tambiev’s careless actions led to the uncovering of the access codes to his electronic wallet, conveniently stored in a folder named “Pension” on his computer. While the bribe takers received suspended sentences, authorities are now planning to seize all of Tambiev’s ill-gotten gains.

Background and Lawsuit

On June 5th, the Niculinsky District Court of Moscow is scheduled to review the lawsuit filed by First Deputy Prosecutor General Anatoly Razinkin. The aim of this legal action is to confiscate the corruption proceeds amassed by Marat Tambiev. Tambiev has been a part of the Investigative Committee since December 2011, steadily rising through the ranks and assuming positions of authority within the organization. He served as an investigator in various districts and eventually became the head of the investigation department in Tverskoy district.

Unexplained Wealth

Despite Tambiev’s modest official salary, neither he nor any of his family members declared any significant assets or savings in Russian rubles, foreign currency, or cryptocurrencies. However, during the investigation into his alleged involvement in a major bribery case, startling facts came to light. It was discovered that Tambiev possessed a substantial amount of Bitcoin—specifically, 1032.1 bitcoins, equivalent to $23,980,843 as of January 30, 2023, or 1.662 billion rubles based on the prevailing exchange rate. Further inquiry revealed that Tambiev received the cryptocurrency on April 7th of the previous year from members of a hacking group known as the Infraud Organization. Notably, Tambiev was directly handling their criminal case and had deliberately refrained from freezing their assets.

Setting a New Record for Corruption

The size of the bribe, valued at 1.6 billion rubles, sets a new record for corruption among law enforcement officials in Russia. Even Dmitry Zakharchenko, a former police officer and an underground billionaire, was found guilty of accepting bribes totaling 1.4 billion rubles over a decade, as ruled by the Presnensky District Court in Moscow. Zakharchenko is presently appealing his 16-year sentence in the Moscow City Court, but the scale of Tambiev’s illicit activities surpasses even this notorious case.

Uncovering the Evidence

The alleged bribe in Tambiev’s case was exposed during a search of his apartment on Bolshaya Ochakovskaya Street in Moscow. Among the items seized during the operation was an Apple MacBook Pro laptop, which proved to be a formidable challenge for the investigators to crack. However, it was during this intensive process that they stumbled upon a folder named “Pension.” To their astonishment, inside the folder was a photograph of a sheet of paper containing the access codes to Tambiev’s stash of 932.1 and 100 bitcoins. Realizing the gravity of the situation, authorities obtained a court order from the Basmanny District Court, enabling them to seize the bitcoins by transferring them to an electronic address on a hardware cryptocurrency wallet, specifically a Ledger Nano X. Subsequently, the hardware wallet, along with the access keys, was placed in a secure storage facility at the Investigative Committee.

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