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Moscow Court Arrests Suspected Owner Of Dark-Net Site For Hiring Assassins

September 13, 2021

A court in Moscow has ordered the arrest of a man suspected of being behind a website that offered a marketplace for hiring hitmen.

The Basmanny district court on September 9 ruled that Sergei Magdanov, a 38-year-old resident of Izhevsk, a city located 1,200 kilometers east of Moscow, must stay in pretrial detention for at least two months.

The Investigative Committee said in a statement on September 9 that Magdanov was detained amid an ongoing investigation into the murder of a married couple in the Vladimir region, which borders the Moscow region.

The unidentified couple was assassinated by a hitman allegedly hired via Magdanov's website, which operated on the dark net.

According to the Investigative Committee, another hitman hired via the website was preparing to assassinate an individual in St. Petersburg.

Similar to owners of legitimate online marketplaces, the committee said Magdanov received a cut of the transactions conducted via his website.

He was paid in cryptocurrencies as well as via digital wallets registered under other people's names, the committee said.

Investigators found more than 500 payment cards and "a significant amount of cash" in his possession.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, Russia experienced a jump in contract killings amid the turbulent transition to a market economy.

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