U.K. Court Orders Bitfinex to Freeze $860,000 Worth of Bitcoin Linked to Ransomware Attack

The Royal Courts of Justice has ordered Bitfinex to freeze $860,000 worth of Bitcoin after the exchange and blockchain sleuthing firm , Chainalysis traced the funds towards a ransomware.

As indicated by a filing published last week by the England and Commercial Court, the victim of the payment attack had paid approximately $950,000 in BTC to a perpetrator via an insurance firm. While some of the BTC was converted into the traditional currency, the remainder seems to have been sent to a Bitfinex address.

The court ordered Bitfinex to freeze the wallet address and share its KYC data of the account’s owner.

As indicated by the filing, an unnamed firm had been told to pay $1.2 million in BTC after its computers were hacked by ransomware. The firm’s insurer, that filed the court claim, finally paid $950,000 in the form of BTC 109.25. Where some of these funds were changed to fiat currency and are not traceable, $861,200 worth BTC were sent to a Bitfinex address.

Maddie Kennedy, the Chainalysis Director of Communications, said in a statement –

“A leading cyber insurer used Chainalysis software to investigate ransomware payments made on behalf of their clients and trace the flow of funds from the point of extortion to known services such as exchanges.”

The filing verifies Chainalysis assisted in tracing BTC.

Bitfinex and iFinex are listed as D4 and D3 respectively in the filing. Still, the exchange stated that it has been working with the claimant to track BTC and is not seen as getting involved with the crime.

The statement said –

“Bitfinex has robust systems in place to allow it to assist law enforcement authorities and litigants in cases such as this. We understand the focus of the Claimant’s attention is no longer on the Bitfinex platform. It now appears Bitfinex is an entirely innocent party mixed up in this wrongdoing.”

However, the spokespersons for the exchange refused to confirm if Bitfinex had offered the Know Your Customer (KYC) data for the account associated with the address. The court ruling said that Bitfinex would offer the data as long as it had a court order.

The ruling reads –

“It is fair to say that D3 and D4, at the moment at least, have cooperated with the claimant in the following sense, which is that in email correspondence they have indicated that they are not able to comply with any order to identify anyone associated with the account, absent a court order, but that it is their practice to comply with the court order for any national jurisdiction.”

The jury of the court has imposed a January 18 deadline for Bitfinex to take over the data. A search of the court database didn’t disclose any further filings in the case.