A Bitcontalk forum account associated with the operators of the BTC-e digital currency exchange has posted new statements claiming its a week-long downtime was due to “FBI agents entering its data center.”
The message claims that BTC-e’s data center has been raided by the FBI on July 25, during which time the agency “seized all equipment, the servers contained databases and purses of our service.”
The statement reads as follows:
On July 25, 11:00 the FBI staff came to the data center where our server equipment was located and seized all equipment, the servers contained databases and purses of our service.
Almost for 6 days we could not get from our hosting provider the sane information, what happened to our servers because of this information we publish only now.
July 28, the domain was confiscated. At the moment, part of the service facility is arrested by the FBI.
Last week BTC-e claimed on Twitted the service would be fully functional again and it would take 5-10 days for it to come back up, but this now appears to be very unlikely.
The message added:
The next update will be information on what options are available to restore the service, as well as the procedure for obtaining funds, in the event that the service is not started. In the current situation, if the service is not started before the end of August, Then from September 1 we will start the process of refund.
In the next 1-2 weeks, we will evaluate and publish information about how much money fell into the hands of the FBI and what amount of funds is available for return.
For all those who buried us, I will remind you that the service has always worked on trust and we are ready to answer for it. The funds will be returned to everyone!
The post also stated that Alexander Vinnik, the Russian citizen arrested in Greece last week on money laundering charges, had “never been in charge of” the service.
Arrest of the Russian Alexander Vinnik: Officially declare – Alexander was never the head or employee of our service.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission announced last week it was seeking $110 mln from BTC-e for flouting anti-money laundering rules.
Inaccessibility of user’s funds made them take some action to change the situation. Enthusiasts created Change.org petition that urges the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to give users their money back from the exchange or at least to allow them to access them again, so they won’t lose everything they had. For security, some even tried to prove the legality of the funds stating how they earned their coins. Now the petition has close to 3000 supporters, and the number keeps on increasing as its shared through social media.