European police arrest British suspect in $11 million crypto theft

An unidentified British man has been arrested in Oxford after a year-long investigation into a €10 million (around $11.3 million) crypto theft, according to a Europol press release.

Police arrested the 36-year-old suspect Wednesday on suspicion of fraud, theft, and money laundering. The hack, which targeted users' iota tokens, is believed to have affected around 85 victims. German police opened the case last January after local citizens reported crypto had been stolen from their wallets. When authorities traced the suspect to the UK, the EU's police agency took over the investigation, which involved the corroboration of a series of police task forces. 

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The suspect allegedly used malicious software which meant that users of the website Iotaseed.io had their details stored in the background, allowing him access to their IOTA login codes, wallets and ultimately their iota tokens. He then "transferred their money to other wallets created with fake IDs," Europol said in the statement. 

In September 2018, Interpol and Europol presented their annual Organised Crime report, warning of the rising threats and "criminal abuse" of crypto hacks and extortions - particularly for exchanges.

Wednesday's arrest is Europol's second high-profile crypto case, after they arrested 11 suspects in Spain last April for laundering over €8 million (or $9 million) worth of unnamed cryptocurrency for a drug purchase, Coindesk reported.

About Author

Isabel is The Block's London and European reporter. She previously reported for Reuters in Madrid and London, following on from her time as a freelance journalist for the Guardian and the New York Times. She has a Bachelors in War Studies from King’s College London and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Oxford. Conflict of Interest: Edward Woodford, the CEO of SeedCX, is Isabel's brother. She does not report on any issues related to Seed or advise other authors in any regard.