Italian police have accused the BitGrail CEO Franscesco Firano of allegedly stealing millions of dollars of cryptocurrency from the exchange's users, according to reports. Firano, also known as FF, has been accused of computer fraud, self-laundering (a type of money laundering) and fraudulent bankruptcy.
The exchange was hacked for €120 million ($146 million), it was revealed in February 2018. The cryptocurrency was called RaiBlocks; it has since rebranded to Nano. We still do not know who hacked the exchange. But the police have claimed that Firano is responsible for letting the hack happen and for moving customer funds afterwards.
Police say that the exchange was hacked multiple times from June 2017 onward. This happened because the exchange didn't implement the RaiBlocks cryptocurrency correctly, as the then-RaiBlocks team said at the time.
But rather than reveal details of the hack, the CEO allegedly kept the exchange open and continued to accept new customers. During this time, the customer base shot up from 70,000 users to around 217,000. At the same time, the value of RaiBlocks rose considerably.
Eventually Firano revealed details of the hack and the exchange went into liquidation. He later filed a compliant and an investigation began in February 2018.
Three days before he filed the complaint, however, he transferred customer funds (in cryptocurrency) worth €1.7 million ($2 million) to his personal account in a Maltese Bitcoin exchange. He then traded part of this into euros. He also tried to empty his account but investigators prevented him from doing so.
Since then, six search warrents were issued against FF and his collaborators. The police seized a number of computers.