Russian law enforcement officials are investigating cryptocurrency mining at Butyrka, Russia’s oldest prison.
A deputy warden has been charged with stealing electricity to mint digital coins with the help of unidentified accomplices.
A senior leader of the Butyrskaya prison, in the Tverskoy District, central Moscow, is being investigated for setting up a cryptocurrency mining farm. This is the oldest prison in Russia, built in 1771.
The hardware was found on the premises of a psychiatric clinic run by the Federal Penitentiary Service at the prison.
The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation is currently questioning one of the deputy superintendents for possible abuse of power.
Investigators have so far determined that the official, along with his accomplices, installed the mining equipment in November 2021.
During that period, the machines consumed nearly 8,400 kilowatts of government-funded electricity at a total cost of more than 62,000 rubles (nearly $1,000). Because of this, the deputy superintendent was charged with “acting beyond his or her authority, in a substantial violation of the legitimately protected interests of society or the state.”
Stealing electricity for cryptocurrency mining has become an attractive source of income for many Russians.
Areas such as Krasnoyarsk Krai and Irkutsk Oblast, which maintain low rates of electricity for residents and public facilities, have become hotbeds of illegal activity.
Illegal miners are believed to be the cause of frequent power outages, especially in residential areas where the grid cannot handle the overload.
In response to this phenomenon, Russia’s antitrust agency recently proposed the introduction of higher electricity rates for home-based crypto miners.
Raids have been carried out against underground mining operations across the country, with law enforcement agencies recently seizing more than 1,500 mining rigs from two illegal crypto mining farms, in Dagestan.