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20 years

Suspect who operated “largest money laundering operation in history” from Costa Rica fighting extradition to US

Budovsky escorted by Spanish authorities after his arrest in May.

Budovsky escorted by Spanish authorities after his arrest in May.

January 27th, 2014 ( Arthur Budovsky, the man accused of founding Costa Rica-based Liberty Reserve, has decided to fight U.S. efforts to extradite him from Spain, according to his lawyer Gonzalo Boye, the Associated Press reported today.


United States authorities have described Liberty Reserve as the “largest money laundering operation in history,” and said the online currency transfer business laundered more than $6 billion in illicit funds linked to everything from child pornography to online pharmacies.


In May, Budovsky, 40, was arrested in Spain while attempting to return to Costa Rica.  The arrest came after a joint investigation between Costa Rican and United States law enforcement agencies.


Arthur Budovsky has been in trouble with the law several times. In 2006, Budovsky and his partner Vladimir Kats were indicted in the United States on charges related to a similar service called GoldAge, which they ran from their apartments in Brooklyn, New York.  GoldAge allegedly transmitted close to $30 million illegally. Both were sentenced to five years in prison in 2007 but ended up serving only probation. Budovsky then left the United States and headed to Costa Rica, where he later started Liberty Reserve.


Budovsky renounced his US citizenship after obtaining Costa Rican citizenship through marriage.  The Costa Rican woman to whom he is married later revealed to reporters that she was paid $600 to marry Budovsky, a man she had never met, in a sham marriage in order for Budovsky to obtain Costa Rican citizenship.


As Costa Rica does not extradite its own citizens, it is believed that authorities arrested Budovsky during a trip to Spain in order that he could be extradited to face trial in the US.


Full coverage of the Liberty Reserve case can be found here.

costa rica news

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