Thai court orders seizure of Thai assets of Cazes, former founder of AlphaBay, the largest dark web marketplace, who committed suicide in a Bangkok prison in 2017
Jumpol Phansamrit, director of foreign affairs for Thailand's Office of the Attorney General (OAG), said the court accepted the prosecutor's request and ordered the seizure of assets owned by the late Canadian national Alexandre Cazes.
Cazes was the founder of AlphaBay, a former dark web trading marketplace
On July 5, 2017, Alexandre Cazes, a 26-year-old Canadian citizen, was arrested by Thai authorities along with his wife Sunisa Thapsuwan at the request of U.S. authorities.Cazes, considered the founder and No. 1 administrator of AlphaBay, then the largest dark web trading marketplace, was arrested on July 12, 2017, while extradition proceedings were underway. He was found dead in his cell at the Thai Narcotics Bureau (NSB) in Bangkok's Lakshi district, Cazes was 25 years old when he committed suicide in a Thai prison.
Cazes had lived in Thailand for about eight years prior to his arrest and had a Thai wife.Cazes was found hanging on a towel in the bathroom of his cell.Cazes was preparing to meet with a lawyer to discuss his extradition to the United States on drug trafficking charges an hour before he was reported to have committed suicide.
Thai police said, "Cazes was a computer expert involved in international trading of bitcoins, and he had no business in Thailand, but he had many houses and four Lamborghini sports cars."
Cazes' father, Martin, said his son was "an extraordinary young man with no history and no record of breaking the law. He never smoked, never did drugs."
AlphaBay, formerly the largest dark web marketplace
In 2017, AlphaBay was the largest marketplace on the dark web at the time, with as many as 300,000 product listings for sale using bitcoin, conservatively processing between $600,000 and $800,000 in transactions per day and reportedly having more products than Silk Road, an illegal dark web marketplace shut down by U.S. authorities in 2014.
The DEA alleges that "AlphaBay is dedicated to and designed to facilitate the sale of illegal narcotics, drug paraphernalia, firearms, and goods and services associated with counterfeiting and fraud. Illegal drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine were openly advertised and sold and immediately and prominently displayed on the Alphabay website."
It wasn't until July 4 of that year that U.S. police seized AlphaBay's central server in Lithuania and shut it down.
However, in 2021, four years after the demise of the AlphaBay marketplace, AlphaBay's former number two administrator, security expert and self-proclaimed co-founder, "DeSnake", appears to have returned to the web and relaunched AlphaBay under his own sole leadership. The new AlphaBay marketplace is now one of the largest marketplaces on the dark web.
Thailand Wants to Share Cazes-Owned Assets with U.S.
Jumpol said the OAG Foreign Affairs Ministry has yet to hold discussions with U.S. authorities on how to share the money collected from the sale of Cazes' properties.
The assets include a Lamborghini car worth 45 million baht, a Porsche worth 10 million baht, three houses worth 308 million baht and eight bank accounts worth 46 million baht.
Jumpol said Thai authorities had earlier confiscated 911 bitcoins from Cazes and handed them over to U.S. authorities, but his department would ask the U.S. to return the bitcoins so they could be auctioned off along with the remaining assets.
Cazes' case came to light when U.S. authorities notified their Thai counterparts about an arrest warrant issued against him by a California court on 16 charges.
According to the charges, Cazes allegedly used his website to sell drugs, weapons and money laundering, and was suspected of making payments in bitcoin.
Jumpol said U.S. authorities had asked OAG to coordinate the seizure of Cazes' assets in Thailand in May 2019, but the Thai court did not order the seizure until April 27 of this year.
Jumpol added that in the next process, OAG will auction off the assets, including the 911 bitcoins, and discuss with the U.S. how to share the money.
From：On DarkNet – Dark Web News and Analysis
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