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Russian Arrested in the DR Found with Bitcoins: What Were They Hiding?

Sergei Berezin and/or Paul Bergholts are Russian individuals implicated as the leaders of an alleged international criminal organization that committed fraud amounting to more than 645 million euros. The fraud involved false investments in manufacturing plants for cannabis used for medicinal purposes. During a raid on a tourist complex in Bayahibe, in the province of La Altagracia, various items, including firearms, bitcoins, cash, passports with false information, electronic devices, a vehicle, marijuana, and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, USDT, TRX, and Ethereum were seized.

Sergei Berezin was arrested for extradition purposes following judicial warrants and searches conducted in the province of La Altagracia.

The authorities found DOP$922,800.00, USD$33,310.00, €880.00, 105 Roman leu, 300 dirhams, and 26,100 rubles in cash, along with magazines for pistols and passports with false information. Electronic devices, a Tahoe brand SUV, portions of marijuana, and cryptocurrencies totaling approximately USD$55,996.86 were also seized.

Upon a request for International Legal Assistance from Spain, the Dominican Republic provided support to an investigation led by the Spanish National Police, Europol, and Eurojust, with collaboration from the United States and the United Kingdom. The aim was to dismantle the international criminal network responsible for the fraudulent scheme.

The Specialized Prosecutor’s Office against High-Tech Crimes and Crimes (Pedatec) and the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office against Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism formed a multidisciplinary team to assist in locating the alleged leader of the organization. Further raids were conducted in three apartments linked to the Russian citizen, and an extradition arrest warrant was issued by the Supreme Court of Justice.

Following these actions, the Russian citizen was arrested in one of the apartments within the tourist complex. The operation involved over fifty members of the National Police, including SWAT and Lince tactical units, Gray Beret, members of the Criminal Investigation Directorate (Dicrim), the K-9 Canine Unit, and explosives experts. A hearing is scheduled for April 15 to address the Public Ministry’s request for coercive measures against the accused.

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