This morning, Russian-language crypto-Blockchain news resource ForkLog reported that Ukrainian authorities raided the personal flat of its Founder and CEO, Anatoly Kaplan, and office in Odessa, seizing hardware and cryptocurrency funds.
ForkLog alleges that members of the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) plus two witnesses arrived at Kaplan’s flat in Odessa on Friday morning with a warrant. A search ensued, and the SSU officers left taking some of Kaplan’s personal belongings including “several pieces of equipment used to store cryptocurrencies, a notebook and other items.”
The declared reason for the raid, according to the publication, was existing allegations against a group of people from the US and Ukraine involved in a scheme to steal funds from third-party payments. According to the SSU, the suspects were exchanging Bitcoin for Ukrainian Hryvnia “with the help of the internet-resource ForkLog.”
ForkLog insists that none of the entities named in authorities’ search warrant “were related to ForkLog or to its founder.” SSU’s claim also seemingly contradicts the fact that ForkLog is a media/ information resource that does not offer exchange services, and the magazine insists they in no way “helped” in such a process.
In addition to the allegedly unfounded search and seizure on Friday, the journal also reports that one security service member attempted to send Bitcoin from Kaplan’s wallet to his own. Kaplan’s lawyer then called the city police to report a theft. ForkLog reports:
“…Kaplan’s lawyer called the police to inform them of intention to steal [Bitcoin] and called for backup. Afterwards, attempts to transfer Bitcoins to their own address stopped.”
At the same time on Friday, ForkLog reports that a raid also took place in ForkLog’s Odessa office. The authorities confiscated the company’s cash, all of its hardware, and a bottle of Kraken rum.
Commenting on the larger implications of the incident, Kaplan stated:
“In my opinion, this situation directly illustrated one of the possible scenarios of the development of the interaction between the government and the cryptocurrency community, which is why we decided to make this case public. Because it is not so much about protecting my personal interests or the interests ForkLog, as much as about protecting the interests of the entire community. And this event is a warning to everyone involved with Blockchain technology, it doesn’t matter how public you are. We’re currently working with lawyers to release personal property. What is particularly strange is the practice of transferring cryptocurrencies to an address under the control of the SSU.”
The unusual episode took place at a time when cryptocurrency remains a key tool in the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict centered around separatists in Ukraine’s east and Russia’s takeover of Crimea in 2014. Breakaway pro-Moscow regions have openly called for cryptocurrency implementation as a solution to their financial problems.