In brief

  • The FBI has arrested Russian rapper Maksim Boiko in Miami.
  • He is accused of money laundering via crypto trading platform BTC-e.
  • The FBI alleges that Boiko collaborated with international hacker group QQAAZZ.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has arrested Russian rapper Maksim Boiko at a Miami condo, accusing him of money laundering via cryptocurrencies, including through the now-defunct trading platform BTC-e.

According to a report by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the FBI suspects that Boiko was also collaborating with the international hacker group QQAAZZ and refers to him as a “significant cybercriminal.” The FBI alleges that the group had stolen “tens of millions of dollars” in the past.

Boiko posted images of his wealth on Instagram. Image: Instagram.

When Boiko crossed the US border on January 19, he reportedly stated that he had only $20,000—received as a result of investing in Bitcoin and renting out his real estate in Russia.

Despite these claims, customs officers continued to follow Boiko through his social networks. Photos with "inexplicable wealth" published on the Instagram account raised suspicion among government officials about the legitimacy of the rapper’s activities.

“Instagram social media and Apple iCloud accounts include photographs of him with substantial sums of U.S. and foreign currencies dating back as far as 2015,” the arrest warrant stated on March 27.

The investigation claimed that Boiko was linked to BTC-e, a crypto exchange that handled around 3% of global Bitcoin trading in 2015 but was shut down in 2017.

“A search of FBI databases revealed that the email account [...] was used to register an account on BTC-e. [...] The registrant using this email provided the name “Maksim Boiko” and the username “gangass.” The data from BTC-e showed that Boiko’s account had received $387,964 worth of deposits and had withdrawn approximately 136 Bitcoin,” the arrest warrant added.

If he kept hold of that Bitcoin, it would now be worth just shy of a million dollars.