Project Lakhta is an operation targeting the forthcoming US election. The project aims at bringing distrust in the country’s political system according to the US Federal Authorities.
Artem Mikhaylovich Lifshits, a Russian managed the project allegedly. However, the US federal authorities have issued a warrant of arrest for the suspected Russian national as because of allegations he is interfering in the forthcoming US election.
According to the federal authorities, Artem Liftshifts stole identities of US citizens to open fraudulent accounts at cryptocurrency exchanges. He used these accounts alongside accomplices to funnel around $1 million.
In a complaint filed against the Russian in the Eastern District of Virginia court for trying to meddle with the US election. He engaged in a wire fraud conspiracy to improve Russia’s foreign influence efforts and to enrich himself.
Liftshift, the Project Lakhata suspected manager, Darya Aslanov, as well as Andrii Derkach a member of Ukraine’s parliament and a suspected Russian spy, have all been sanctioned.
More about Project Lakhta, interference with US election
According to an arrest warrant issued by US authorities, Project Lakhta since 2014 has been involved in political and electoral interference operations. It targeted populations within the Russian Federation and in various other countries, including, but not limited to, the United States, members of the European Union, Ukraine, and Africa.
The goal of the project is to disrupt the democratic process and spread distrust in the political system generally.
The project also operates through several Russian entities like the Internet Research Agency LLC, Internet Research LLC, among others.
Project Lakhta members traveled to the United States to collect intelligence; established United States computer infrastructure; and built the capacity to reach millions of United States citizens. This is through parody social media accounts and the use of political advertisements.
Elliptic traces project Lakhta transactions
Elliptic, a blockchain firm traced the cryptocurrency transactions used to bankroll the operation. From the addresses the US Treasury published, Elliptic discovered transaction over $1 million occurred between 2017 and 2018.
Dr. Tom Robinson, the blockchain firm manager said in a blog post that after the midterm elections of November 2018, transactions ended.
Elliptic discovered coins used to hold the funds. $624,118 (64%) was held in Bitcoin; $260,354 (26.8%) in Ether; $80,281 (8.3%) in the privacy coin, Zcash; and $2,464 (0.3%) in Bitcoin SV.
The cryptos were moved across exchanges like Binance, Gemini, Poloniex among others.