- Illegal crypto mining farm uncovered in 1771-built Moscow prison.
- Charges of illicit mining and stealing electricity have been pressed against a deputy warden.
- The Deputy Energy Minister believes legalizing mining would reduce the problem of power shortage.
Russian Law Enforcement officials have uncovered an illegal crypto mining operation at Russia’s oldest prison. A deputy warden of Moscow’s Butyrskaya prison has been accused of setting up the mining farm by stealing electricity with the help of unauthorized accomplices.
The Russian Federation’s Investigative Committee confiscated digital coin mining hardware from the premises of the prison’s psychiatric clinic. The investigation revealed that the high-ranking representative of the management, the deputy warden, with the help of some coworkers, established this mining farm in November 2021 and carried out mining till February 2022.
During this period, the machines operated for mining used above 8,400 kW of electricity, which was paid for by the government at a cost of over 62,000 rubles ($1,000).
The accusation against the deputy warden reads:
Actions that clearly go beyond his powers, thereby significantly violating the legally protected interests of the society or the state.
Such power abuse is not a rarity in Russia since crypto miners have always been attracted to the subsidized electricity tariffs, especially in regions like Krasnoyarsk Krai and Irkutsk Oblast.
Hence these regions have become the breeding ground of illicit activities due to the consistently maintained low electricity rates offered to the inhabitants, public institutions, and government organizations.
Russia’s Anti-Monopoly Agency proposed to impose higher electricity rates for crypto miners after witnessing several frequent load sheddings and power cuts. Owing to this reason, The Russian Deputy Energy Minister, Evgeny Grabchak expressed his desire for mining to be legalized ‘as quickly as feasible’
Multiple raids have been conducted by law enforcement agencies to unearth the underground mining operations carried out across the country. Recently, the authorities have shut down 2 illegal crypto farms in Dagestan and seized over 1,500 mining machines. One of the farms was operating from the pumping station of the Russian republic’s water supply utility.