After escaping prison and flying over the Atlantic seated just rows away from the Icelandic Prime Minister, the man accused of masterminding a multi-million dollar bitcoin mining equipment heist was apprehended in Amsterdam.
The arrest was confirmed by police spokesperson Rob van der Veen, who said on Monday that Sindri Thor Stefansson was arrested Sunday night near the city center. Van der Veen declined to give any further details about the case.
Suspect Boarded a Flight to Sweden with Iceland’s PM
Stefansson was able to pull off his cross-country escape using a plane ticket purchased under someone else’s name. Because Iceland and Sweden (where Stefansson originally flew) are both in the Schengen zone, Stefansson managed to avoid having to show his passport at any point during his travels.
He was only one of 11 people that have been arrested in connection with a wave of burglaries related to Bitcoin mining equipment in Iceland. The robberies have shocked the tiny country (population 334,000), which has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
CEO Spotlight: Alon Rajic on the Future of UK/EU Trade and EconomicsGo to article >>
”I would never have done this if I didn’t believe I was a free man.”
According to a BBC report, Stefansson said on Monday that he was actually told that he was free to go, but that he would be arrested if he chose to leave the prison without an explanation.
In a letter to Iceland’s Frettabladid newspaper, Stefansson wrote that “I simply refuse to be in prison of my own free will, especially when the police threaten to arrest me without explanation.” He also wrote that police in Amsterdam had forced him to sign an agreement to stay in custody.
The letter continued: “I’m not trying to say that it was the right decision to leave, I really regret it.”
“I didn’t expect an international arrest warrant to be issued against me,” he wrote, “as I was legally free to leave, and believed it was out of the question that I would be labeled a fugitive. I would never have done this if I didn’t believe I was a free man.”
Stefansson also claimed that although he is a suspect, there is no hard evidence that he is involved in the crimes.