BTC-E Says It Will Return Customers' Bitcoins After Being Shut Down By DOJ

In what would be a surprising achievement, after the US government seized the site's domain, BTC-e announced that it has somehow retained access to customer wallets and deposits nearly two weeks after the site was taken down by a collaboration between US and European authorities.

The announcement was published on a bitcoin forum account long associated with the shadowy exchange, so there’s no guarantee that it represents an official statement from the company, or whatever’s left of it.

Authorities arrested the BTC-e’s alleged founder, Russian-born Alexander Vinnik, in Greece late last month after unveiling a 21-count indictment against Vinnik and BTC-e, which included a $110 million fine for the mysterious digital-currency exchange, as we reported.

The full statement is below, translated from the original Russian by Google.

Vinnik was accused of using the exchange to operate a $4 billion money laundering scheme using cryptocurrency. According to the indictment, Vinnik helped the hackers who stole tens of thousands of customer bitcoins from Mt. Gox in the largest, and probably most infamous, cybertheft in digital-currency history. The Fed’s described BTC-e as the “exchange of choice to convert digital currencies like bitcoin to fiat money for the criminal world, especially by those who committed their crimes online.”

This isn’t the first statement purportedly released by BTC-e since Vinnik’s arrest. A day after the site was seized, the same account published a note assuring customers that they would get their money back.

Of course, that didn’t stop some on twitter from making uncomfortable Mt. Gox comparisons.