Former IT manager at Liberty Reserve pleads guilty

Former IT manager of now shuttered Liberty Reserve, Maxim Chukharev, has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to operate an

Former IT manager of now shuttered Liberty Reserve, Maxim Chukharev, has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business.

The US Justice Department said that he worked with company’s former chief technology officer, Mark Marmilev, at Liberty Reserve in Costa Rica to maintain computer infrastructure.

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Liberty Reserve used its own system of digital currency, “Liberty Reserve dollars/euros”, to facilitate as many as 55 million illegal transactions worth as much as $6 billion. After a multi-year investigation by authorities in 17 countries, the “black market bank” was shuttered last year and several of its operators were arrested. Chukharev becomes the fourth to plead guilty.

Prosecutors allege that the company helped users launder proceeds from crimes and transfer funds between associates, thereby evading the watch of authorities over the banking system. Funds originated from crimes including identity theft, credit card fraud, computer hacking, child pornography and narcotics trafficking.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 30.

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