Liberty Reserve Owner Arthur Budovsky Belanchuk Arrested


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Arthur Budovsky Belanchuk, 39, on Friday was arrested in Spain as part of a money laundering investigation performed jointly by police agencies in the United States and Costa Rica.

"Budovsky, a Costa Rican citizen of Ukrainian origin, has been under investigation since 2011 for money laundering using a company he created in the country called Liberty Reserve", says Costa Rican prosecutor José Pablo González.

Investigation began after a request from a prosecutors office in New York. Raid  was conducted on Friday, at  Budovsky's house and office which is in Escazá, Santa Ana, southwest of San José, and also in the province of Heredia, north of the capital.

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Budovsky's businesses in Costa Rica apparently were financed by using money from child pornography websites and drug trafficking.

According to New York conviction report  from the U.S. Justice Department, on July 27, 2006, Budovsky and his partner Vladimir Kats were charged by the state of New York for operating an illegal financial business, GoldAge Inc., from their Brooklyn apartments.They had transmitted at least $30 million to digital currency accounts worldwide since beginning operations in 2002.

Liberty Reserve Domain Seized

GoldAge, received and transmitted $4 million between Jan. 1, 2006, and June 30, 2006, as part of the money laundering scheme.Customers used open online GoldAge accounts with limited documentation of identity, then GoldAge purchased digital gold currency through those accounts. The defendants' fees sometimes exceeded $100,000.Customers had many choice for payment to GoldAge: wire remittances, cash deposits, postal money orders or checks.Finally, the customers could withdraw the money by requesting wire transfers to accounts anywhere in the world or by having checks sent to any identified individual.

Budovsky and Kats were sentenced to five years in prison for engaging in the business of transmitting money without a license, a felony violation of state banking law, but got probation.