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Illegal Crypto Mining: Russian Police Seize More than 3,200 Rigs in Siberia Raids

Russian police have seized over 3,200 crypto mining rigs in raids on four large “illegal” data centers in Siberia.

Per the Novosibirsk branch of the Russian power provider Rosseti (via RBC Crypto), police officers have charged the mining center operators with criminal charges.

Illegal Crypto Mining ‘Network’ Shut Down in Novosibirsk

Rosseti said the centers were operating as part of an interconnected “network.” The firm said miners ran centers located “in different parts” of the city of Novosibirsk.

The power firm said it estimated the miners stole a combined total of $2.1 million worth of electricity from the Novosibirsk grid.

Police officers conducted searches, and confiscated nine power transformers and “3,225 cryptocurrency mining devices.”

Novosibirsk on a map of Russia. (Edited, based on work by Uwe Dedering [CC BY-SA 4.0])Novosibirsk is the largest city in Siberia. Along with Irkutsk, almost 2,000km to the east, it has become a major hub for Russia’s fast-growing crypto mining industry.

However, power providers have complained of a rapid rise in “illegal” crypto mining. By this, they mean crypto miners who use illegal connections to the power network to steal electricity.

Novosibirsk police officers said they had completely shut down “the work” of all four “crypto farms at once” in simultaneous raids.

Crypto Mining Farms Found All Around City, Police Say

Police raided facilities near a wastewater treatment plant. They also swooped on a center in a forest on the outskirts of the Leninsky District.

Another farm was operating near “a city landfill on the left bank” of the River Ob. One more was found in a “private sector” area in the Kalininsky District.

All four mining farms “were equipped with modern power equipment,” energy company officials said.

But none of the centers were using “legal connections” to power grids, Rosseti explained. A spokesperson added:

“The operators carried out electricity theft on an industrial scale.”

Officials said they had pressed charges, and noted that the operators could face jail time if convicted.

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Crackdown Continues

Power firms have targeted illegal crypto mining in crackdowns both in Siberia and beyond in recent months.

In February, energy specialists and law enforcement officers discovered an illegal crypto mining farm with 100 ASIC miners on the outskirts of Novosibirsk.

Officials said at the time that the miners had stolen “several million rubles” worth of power from the grid.

A Russian court said it had rejected Google’s appeal against a $49.4 million fine, for failing to delete what Russia considers fake information about the war in Ukraine. The fine was calculated as a share of Google’s annual turnover in Russia

— Reuters Legal (@ReutersLegal) April 10, 2024

Irkutsk Oblast officials shut down a 217-rig mining farm in late March, with a 35-year-old man charged with stealing $11,000 worth of power.

In 2023, meanwhile, Rosseti and local police shut down 17 “illegal mining farms” in the cities of Krasnoyarsk, Omsk, and Khakassia.

Further raids were carried out in the Krasnoyarsk Territory and Khakassia, as well as the Omsk Oblast.

Rosseti previously announced it had closed down 36 “illegal” crypto mining farms in the Republic of Dagestan since 2022.

The fate of the industrial mining industry is yet to be determined in Moscow, where miners claim that they want to pay tax on their income.

Major firms say they will help the government launch national IT projects by letting them use their new, state-of-the-art data centers.

Politicians have suggested that they will launch legislation before the end of the current parliamentary session – although some have suggested an unnamed government agency is holding up the process.

The post Illegal Crypto Mining: Russian Police Seize More than 3,200 Rigs in Siberia Raids appeared first on Cryptonews.

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