Bulgaria: the Nexo cryptobank in the sights of justice

Bulgaria: the Nexo cryptobank in the sights of justice

The Bulgarian public prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation against the international cryptocurrency lending platform Nexo, suspected of fraudulent activities, and searched about fifteen places.

“We have taken active steps in investigations aimed at stopping Nexo’s illegal activities”spokeswoman Siyka Mileva said at a press conference.

Already in turmoil in the United States, the company is accused of “organized crime, money laundering, tax evasion, unauthorized activity and computer fraud”.

According to prosecutors, $94 billion has circulated over the past five years on this platform.

Founded in 2017, it is led by three Bulgarians, Kalin Metodiev, Antoni Trenchev and Kosta Kanchev, and operates worldwide from the capital Sofia through companies “mail boxes”without real activity, according to the same source.

“It has been established” that she counted among her clients “a person officially designated as financing terrorist acts”said Mileva.

Platforms, which allow users to buy and sell cryptoassets, but which also offer more or less complex derivative products on these already highly volatile assets, are at the heart of the still young cryptocurrency ecosystem.

After the spectacular bankruptcy of the sector giant FTX in November 2022, against a backdrop of falling crypto-asset prices but whose boss and co-founder is also accused of fraud by the American justice system, many of them are in the hot seat and calls for regulate the sector are multiplying.

Before Nexo, another Bulgarian had made headlines: Ruja Ignatova, nicknamed “Cryptoqueen”, was placed on the FBI’s ten most wanted fugitives list last year.

In 2014, this naturalized German entrepreneur launched OneCoin, a project that allowed her to collect more than 4 billion dollars. But the currency never saw the light of day, and Ruja Ignatova embezzled most of the funds.