Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office or the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) and the Central Office for Combating Cybercrime (ZIT) announced sanctions against Russia-based darknet market Hydra. ZIT, along with the U.S. law enforcement authorities conducted the investigation that lead to the seizure of Hydra. Hydra mostly specialized in the sale of narcotics along with data sales like credit card information and other online services. Countries such as Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine were the leading participants. Hydra’s annual sales in 2020 amounted to 1.23 billion euros. The platform had 17 million costumers and 19,000 or more seller accounts.
“The Frankfurt am Main Public Prosecutor’s Office – Central Office for Combating Cybercrime ( ZIT ) – and the Federal Criminal Police Office ( BKA ) today, Tuesday, secured the server infrastructure in Germany of the world’s largest illegal Darknet marketplace “Hydra Market” and thus closed it.” reads the announcement published by the German BKA. “Bitcoins amounting to currently the equivalent of approx. EUR 23 million were seized, which are attributed to the marketplace.”
The US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also has announced sanctions against Hydra and Garantex, which is an Estonian crypto exchange. Germany was able to seize $25 million in bitcoin. Recently, Virtual Currency Exchanges CHATEX and SUEX have also been sanctioned.