Liberty Reserve today was also named a "financial institution of primary money laundering concern" under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act. This Treasury Department action includes a notice to the Federal Register proposing to prohibit U.S. banks and financial institutions from opening or maintaining accounts for foreign banks that are being used to process transactions involving Liberty Reserve.
Five defendants were arrested on May 24, 2013, including Arthur Budovsky, the principal founder of Liberty Reserve, who was arrested in Spain; Vladmir Kats, the co-founder of Liberty Reserve, who was arrested in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Azzeddine El Amine, a manager of Liberty Reserve's financial accounts, who was arrested in Spain; and Mark Marmilev and Maxim Chukharev, who helped design and maintain Liberty Reserve's technological infrastructure, who were arrested in Brooklyn and Costa Rica, respectively.
Two other defendants, Ahmed Yassine Abdelghani (Yassine) and Allan Esteban Hidalgo Jimenez (Hidalgo), are at large in Costa Rica.
ABC News' efforts to reach a representative of Liberty Reserve were unsuccessful.
"The global enforcement action we announce today is an important step towards reining in the 'Wild West' of illicit Internet banking." Bharara said. "As crime goes increasingly global, the long arm of the law has to get even longer, and in this case, it encircled the earth."