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Bitcoin Daily: Former BitGrail Head Faces Fraud Charges; Exmo Reports Cyberattack; VBT Bank Offers Blockchain-Backed Bank Guarantees

Italian police charged the former head of cryptocurrency exchange BitGrail, identified by the initials of “F.F.,” with money laundering, fraudulent banking and computer fraud, Reuters reported.

“It is the biggest cyber-financial attack in Italy and one of the biggest in the world,” the police said in a statement.

They allege that F.F. was involved in several hacks on the exchange that stole more than 120 million euros ($146 million) worth of the cryptocoin Nano, affecting over 230,000 people.

“It is not yet clear whether he participated actively in the theft or if he simply decided not to increase security measures after discovering it,” Ivano Gabrielli, director of the national center for cyber crimes (CNAIPIC), told Reuters.

According to police, the hack would have been easily preventable once discovered.

Meanwhile, U.K. cryptocurrency exchange Exmo reported a “major” security breach on Mon. (Dec. 21), according to Cointelegraph. The exchange froze all withdrawals after noticing that large amounts of bitcoin, Ether, Ethereum Classic, XRP, Tether and Zcash were leaving the platform’s hot wallets.

The exchange is now tracking the movement of the lost funds and has not yet calculated how much was stolen. Maria Stankevich, Exmo’s head of business development, told Cointelegraph that it was “nothing very serious,” noting that the hot wallets comprise only 5 percent of assets on the exchange.

In other news, Russia’s VTB Bank has teamed with blockchain platform Masterchain to issue digital bank guarantees backed by blockchain, the bank announced in a press release.

Using the platform, VTB issued a guarantee for a payment of 392 million rubles ($5 million USD) to telecommunications group MTS PJSC last Wednesday (Dec. 16), in the first blockchain-supported bank guarantee in Russia.

“This allows you to speed up the process of obtaining guarantees by the beneficiary and reduce the paper document flow. In addition, the placement of data in a distributed register eliminates the risks of fraud with bank guarantees,” said Vadim Kulik, deputy president and chairman of the VTB Management Board, in the press release.

Alexander Smirnov, MTS director of corporate finance and treasury, said in the press release that the platform will help the bank consolidate bank guarantee information and make the process “transparent and secure.”

The implementation of this transaction is the result of consistent joint work of VTB Bank and the Fintech Association to improve the system’s services, develop documentation and determine the essential conditions for the system’s operation.

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