An IT specialist has been detained in Russia’s Atlai Republic, who was working for a medical institution. The detention occurred because of illegal crypto mining at a hospital dedicated to COVID-19.
The man used stolen currency for almost a year to mint digital currencies before his crypto farm was busted by law enforcement officials.
Underground crypto mining operation
Atlai Republic’s capital town is Gorno-Altaisk, which is located in southern Siberia. An employee working in the republican hospital in the town was arrested for minting digital currencies at a medical facility.
The worker had set up the crypto mining farm last year and had been running the equipment since then. Working as a chief information security specialist he installed the hardware in February 2021.
After installing the coin minting equipment in the hospital, he connected it to the servers of the facility, which had previously been used for treating patients of COVID-19.
The Federal Security Service (FSB)’s regional department said that the mining equipment had continued to use stolen electricity to run for about a full year.
This resulted in damages close to 400,000 rubles. According to the law enforcement agency, the IT expert had been facing financial difficulties due to which he had turned to crypto mining.
The man had realized that he did not have the necessary energy, or computing power required to mine cryptocurrencies at home and had decided to use his workplace for this purpose.
The police and officers of the FSB searched the suspect’s home and seized mining rigs, along with other computer equipment.
They did not disclose the identity of the crypto miner, who is likely to be sentenced to two years in prison in accordance with the Criminal Code of Russia.
The case in the country comes at a time when crypto mining has become immensely popular amongst ordinary Russians for generating alternative income.
It has become a common practice to mint digital currencies in dachas, garages, basements, and government institutions in Russia.
This is particularly true for regions where subsidized and cheap electricity is available, including Siberian oblasts, such as Irkutsk.
There is no comprehensive regulation introduced for crypto mining in Russia as yet, even though the country is a hotspot for crypto miners because of its cool climate and its energy resources.
The authorities have taken steps to increase electricity tariffs for miners who use household electricity. This year in May, two illegal crypto farms had been shut down in Dagestan by the authorities.
They had confiscated about 1,500 crypto mining machines and one of these farms had been set up at a pumping station of the water supply company in Russia.
Employees of the company had colluded with a resident of Mahachkala to set up the mining facility. Meanwhile, the authorities also discovered another crypto mining facility at the Butyrka prison.
This is the oldest prison in Russia and the crypto mining operation was allegedly being operated by a deputy warden.