Kazakhstani law enforcement has detained members of an organized crime group accused of forcing IT specialists to operate underground mining operations for cryptocurrency with threats and blackmail. According to the racketeers, they made as much as half a million U.S. Dollars per month.
Kazakhstan Busts Illegal Crypto Mining Organization; Detains Dozens
Authorities in Kazakhstan have arrested a group of “criminally oriented individuals” and former convicts who pressured people savvy in information and crypto technology to run illegal installations for cryptocurrency production. Many of the apprehended 23 people had a background in debt-collecting and extortion, the country’s Interior Ministry said in a statement this week.
According to the department, they were making an estimated profit of between $300,000 and 500,000 per month from their illegal crypto mining activities. There were a variety of weapons found during police searches. These included pistols, ammunition, and even a Kalashnikov assault weapon. An army veteran was one of the members of the gang.
According to Eurasianet, investigators proved that this undertaking was complex, something that indicated that the group could not be relied upon alone. It has been revealed over recent months that large-scale mining operations in Kazakhstan were connected to highly-ranking officials as well as powerful businessmen. This was according to the portal, which provides updates on developments in the region.
After China clamped down in May last year, Kazakhstan was made a hotspot for crypto mining. Although the electricity rate was low, mining firms were attracted to Kazakhstan. However, this led to an increased energy deficit. Nur-Sultan government took steps to cut consumption by cutting electricity supply to mining licensees on numerous occasions. They also increased a tax levies and pursued illegal miners.
More than 100 underground mining facilities were shut down by the Financial Monitoring Agency this spring. Commenting on the offensive, the agency remarked that among their operators were firms affiliated with Bolat Nazarbayev, brother of Kazakhstan’s ex-president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, and Alexander Klebanov who heads the Central Asian Electricity Corporation.
Some of the other closed down facilities were linked to Kairat Sharipbayev, who is the former chairman of the national gas distribution company Qazaqgaz and is believed to be married to Nazarbayev’s eldest daughter, Dariga. The report details that Yerlan Naigmatulin (brother of former speaker in the lower house) is also suspect of profiting from unauthorized mining.
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Credits for the imageShutterstock. Pixabay. Wiki Commons. Vladimir Tretyakov
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