Azzeddine El Amine of Costa Rica pleaded guilty to money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business in connection with his role in running Liberty Reserve, a company that operated one of the world’s most widely used digital currency services. Liberty Reserve was created to help users conduct illegal transactions anonymously and launder the proceeds of their crimes, and it emerged as one of the principal money transfer agents used by cybercriminals around the world to distribute, store, and launder the proceeds of their illegal activity. El Amine served as a principal deputy to Liberty Reserve founder Arthur Budovsky. Before being shut down by the government in May 2013, Liberty Reserve had more than one million users worldwide, including more than 200,000 users in the United States, who conducted approximately 55 million transactions through its system and laundered more than $6 billion in suspected proceeds of crimes, including credit card fraud, identity theft, investment fraud, computer hacking, child pornography and narcotics trafficking. DOJ
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