Estonia reportedly decided on Thursday to hand over to the United States two of its citizens for their alleged involvement in a $575 million cryptocurrency fraud and money laundering scheme.
In November, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the arrest of Sergei Potapenko and Ivan Turõgin in Estonia in connection to an 18-count indictment that included one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 16 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in the US.
According to court documents, Potapenko and Turõgin offered victims fraudulent equipment rental contracts with HashFlare, the crypto mining service that the duo founded. They also asked the victims to invest in a purported virtual currency bank called Polybius Bank but never paid out the promised dividends. The victims allegedly shelled out more than $575 million to these two companies.
Local newspaper Postimess reports that Estonia first approved the extradition of Potapenko and Turõgin in September, but a circuit court annulled the order citing that the government did not take into account the detention conditions in the United States.
Estonia is now set to carry out the extradition process after the Ministry of Justice said it has collected enough evidence on detention conditions in the US, leading the agency to conclude that the conditions for the extradition have been met.
If convicted, Potapenko and Turõgin will each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
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