19 Aug 2022 · 2 min read

Russian Hospital Employee ‘Mined Crypto in a COVID-19 Ward’; SBI Crypto to Halt Mining in Russia

Source: AdobeStock / niyazz

 

A Russian medical specialist could face up to two years behind bars after authorities caught him allegedly running an illegal mining setup in a facility designed to treat coronavirus patients.

The specialist had been placed in charge of information security at a state-run hospital in Gorno-Altaisk, a town in the Altai Republic, in Southern Siberia.

RBC reported that the man began mining unspecified tokens in February 2021 and managed to connect his own mining rigs to the hospital’s server. After the need for ventilators and other such equipment slowly began to subside in the city, the room used appears to have laid vacant – and the specialist appears to have taken full advantage.

The republic’s Ministry of Internal Affairs eventually teamed up with the nation’s secret services agency, the FSB. Together, the parties raided the hospital, and also conducted a search of the suspect’s place of residence.

The investigators claimed to have found that the specialist had been “illegally using” the hospital’s electricity “for about a year,” and claimed that he had “caused material damages” to the tune of around USD 6,800.

The investigators decided to press charges against the individual on the basis of the evidence they collected.

Crypto mining is not illegal under Russian law, but police and the courts have previously come down hard on individuals they believe have stolen power from state-operated institutions or the grid to pay for their own private mining activities.

Meanwhile, the crypto mining arm of the Japanese securities giant SBISBI Crypto – has announced it will halt its Russia-based crypto mining activities, Interfax reported. This follows a call from Washington-based diplomats last month, who urged Japanese crypto players to sever their remaining ties with Russia.

A number of Japanese mining firms had previously launched Siberia-based mining farms, taking advantage of low electricity costs and even lower cooling fees.

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