- Moscow-based law firm ZP Legal claims to have identified Russian nationals who received bitcoin stolen in the 2014 hack of Mt Gox.
- Local law enforcement is investigating Alexander Vinnik, the alleged operator of the defunct exchange BTC-e.
- ZP Legal says Mt Gox creditors who come forward as potential BTC-e victims may help Russian authorities establish a connection between the exchanges.
- To cut a deal with law enforcement, those who benefited from the Mt Gox hack might offer to return funds to the exchange’s creditors, the law firm reckons.
While creditors of the defunct Mt Gox bitcoin exchange wait for the Japanese courts to resolve the fate of their money, a Moscow-based law firm is proposing a different solution.
According to Mt Gox creditors, ZP Legal contacted them earlier this year, offering an opportunity to recover almost a quarter of the missing 850,000 bitcoins stolen in the 2014 hack of the exchange. (The coins were worth more than $450 million at the time of the theft and $8.5 billion today.)
ZP Legal estimated 170,000 to 200,000 of these coins, currently worth $1.7 billion to $2 billion, can be recovered by taking legal action against Russian nationals who received the stolen money.
In return for its assistance, the law firm will charge creditors 50 to 75 percent of the recovered sum, as well as an hourly rate. However, ZP Legal says it will only accept payment in the event of a successful recovery.
Alexander Zheleznikov, the managing partner of ZP Legal (ZP stands for Zheleznikov and Partners), said he believed that some of the money stolen from Mt Gox might have ended up on another defunct crypto exchange,