Two Estonian citizens suspected of cryptocurrency fraud may soon be extradited to the United States, following the local government’s approval.
Ivan Turogin and Sergei Potapenko are accused of operating a fraudulent crypto service that defrauded victims of over $500 million. Estonia’s Ministry of Justice has stated that there is sufficient evidence to satisfy the extradition conditions for the suspects.
This decision comes after a previous denial of extradition by the Tallinn Circuit Court, which raised concerns about potential infringement on the individuals’ fundamental rights.
Turogin and Potapenko ran a cryptocurrency mining business called HashFlare and a crypto bank called Polybius, which the US Department of Justice (DOJ) described as a Ponzi scheme. Through their fraudulent crypto service, they obtained $575 million from investors, which they then laundered through shell companies to purchase real estate and luxury cars.
Following their arrest in November 2022, the DOJ charged them with 16 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
If convicted, Turogin and Potapenko could face up to 20 years in prison in the United States. The timing of their extradition remains uncertain.