Questions raised over links between Bengaluru hacker and a 2016 Bitcoin theft probed by FBI

Questions raised about the link between the hacker in Bengaluru and the 2016 Bitcoin theft

The Bengaluru Police arrested Srikrishna Ramesh alias Sriki in November last time in a case of buying medicines on the Internet with Bitcoins and discovered that the indicted and his associates were allegedly involved in multiple hacking crimes in India and abroad.

Srikrishna Ramesh ( Train)
A 26- timeold hacker arrested in Bengaluru last time who made claims of hacking into Bitfinex, a Bitcoin exchange grounded in the British Virgin Islands, a many times agone, is likely to be a person of interest to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on account of a 2016 police case registered in the US.

The Bengaluru Police arrested Srikrishna Ramesh alias Sriki in November last time in a case of buying medicines on the Internet with Bitcoins and discovered that the indicted and his associates were allegedly involved in multiple hacking crimes in India and abroad.

Srikrishna is presently at the center of contestation in Karnataka following claims that Bitcoins in his possession were used to pay off police officers and others involved in the disquisition of cases against him.

In a voluntary statement given to the police following his arrest in November 2020, Srikrishna has stated at multiple points that he was involved in a hacking incident at the Bitfinex exchange while being part of a hacking group in the Netherlands.

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Though the hacker himself has only appertained to his involvement in a hacking incident in 2015, when a small quantum of Bitcoins was stolen from the Bitfinex exchangequestions are being raised about his alleged link to an August 2, 2016, hacking incident when nearly1.2 lakh Bitcoins ( also valued at around USD$ 70 million and now valued around USD$ 7 billion) were stolen from the Bitfinex exchange.

Soon after the August 2, 2016 theft, a police complaint was filed by an unidentified plaintiff in the US megacity of Cambridge, Massachusetts, stating that “ his Bitcoin account was addressed and$ ($ in Bitcoins) was stolen”. The complaint — available in online libraries of diurnal logs of the Cambridge megacity police for September 14, 2016 — was reportedly about the August 2, 2016, Bitfinex hack.

In response to a query by The Indian Express on the status of the case, a functionary with the Cambridge police department said the case examinations were being led by the FBI.

“ The Cambridge occupant had an account with a digital asset trading company that was addressed and redounded in the theft of Bitcoins from an unknown quantum of their account holders. The company notified the FBI and they were leading the disquisition of the hack. The Cambridge occupant reportedly was suitable to recoup plutocrat from his losses,” Jeremy Warnick, Director of Dispatches, Cambridge Police Department, wrote in a dispatch response.

Grounded on a request for information made by The Indian Express under the FBI’s Freedom of InformationSequestration Acts system, the FBI stated in a response that it has been “ unfit to identify records” with respect to the Bitfinex exchange hacking incident over which the complaint was filed in Cambridge. Michael Seidel, a functionary in the information and records dispersion section at the FBI, said “ a hunt of the places nicely anticipated to have recorded” was carried out, and “ we were unfit to identify records” on the Bitfinex hacking case.

In a voluntary statement to the police, Srikrishna spoke about playing the Bitfinex bitcoin exchange in 2015 and immorally penetrating Bitcoins.

“ Bitfinex was my first big Bitcoin exchange hack. The exchange was addressed doubly and I was the first person to do so. The alternate case (in 2016) was a simple shaft phishing attack which led to two Israeli hackers working for the Army getting access to the computers of one of the workers which gave them access to the AWS cloud account,” Srikrishna told the police.

According to his statement, Srikrishna made “ approx profit 2000 BTC (Bitcoins)” from the Bitfinex hack and blew up the entire quantum on a “ luxurious life”.

The hacker also claimed that he managed on many occasions to vend the stolen Bitcoins by using concealment ways to avoid discovery.

In a fresh statement in a case where he’s indicted of playing a poker gaming point, which is attached to the charge sheet in the case, Srikrishna has claimed that he freely agreed to give away Bitcoins that were in his possession to the police. “ I understood the case script that indeed if I don’t give them the Bitcoins they can use forensic styles to find the Bitcoins, after a talk with the probing officerSo post consultations, I freely accepted to give away the Bitcoins which I had kept in colorful holdalls in different cryptocurrencies,” reads the statement.

The Bengaluru Police havestillrejected allegations linking Srikrishna to the 2016 Bitcoin pinch.

“ He was involved in stealing small quantities of Bitcoins, not large grabs, is what we’ve planted,” an elderly officer said. “ There have been a lot of claims made by him (Srikrishna) but they’ve not been substantiated during examinations,” the functionary said.

While Srikrishna has not claimed links to the August 2016 hack, blockchain judges reported on social media that a large volume of nearly Bitcoins from this theft — worth around$ 750 million – was moved before this time.

When the stolen Bitcoins were allegedly moved on April 14 this time, Srikrishna was in captivity in Bengaluru and was released only on April 17.

The Opposition Congress has linked the release of Srikrishna from captivity to the movement of Bitcoins stolen in 2016, suggesting that they were used to pay off politicians and police officers.

“ In the charge sheet filed by CCB police, it’s recorded that the indicted pillaged Bitcoins through unethical hacking. Who holds these Bitcoins nowHave they got it transferred to accounts of probing agencies? Or are they oblivious?” Congress leader Siddaramaiah said on social media.

Policestillhas rejected suggestions that Bitcoins stolen from Bitfinex were moved in April from Bengaluru.

“ The claim made on Whale Alert (a social media regard tracking Bitcoin movements) that stolen Bitfinex Bitcoins were transferred is fully unwarranted. There’s nothing to suggest that it began from Bengaluru,” police said in a sanctioned statement on November 12.

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