Finnish prosecutors say a police investigation has linked a number of crypto transactions to the bank account of an alleged blackmailer who threatened to publish therapy notes belonging to more than 30,000 psychotherapy patients.
Finnish national Aleksanteri Tomminpoika Kivimäki has pleaded not guilty to the charges of aggravated data breach, 9,600 instances of aggravated sharing of private documents, 21,300 attempts at aggravated blackmail, and 20 counts of aggravated blackmail. He is accused of hacking into the database of the Vastaamo psychotherapy center in 2018, blackmailing its patients, and releasing private documents online in 2020 under the moniker of ‘ransom_man.’
The Vastaamo center was told to pay 40 bitcoin, worth roughly $518,000 at the time of the data breach. One victim who spoke to the BBC claimed he was asked to pay €500 or else his teenage counseling session notes would be published.
As reported by Helsingin Sanomat, a police investigation paid bitcoin to the address of ‘ransom_man.’ Prosecutors claim the crypto transactions from this investigation have led them to the bank accounts of Kivimäki. However, Kivimäki claims that he was simply a spectator to the breach.
Money he received between 2019 and 2020 was questioned in court on Monday, with prosecutors claiming that Kivimäki could not have afforded his lifestyle unless he was responsible for the extortion.
In his defense, the Finnish national said his profits came from working at a travel agency and through an appreciation in the price of his crypto holdings. “At that time I had significant amounts of cryptocurrencies that had been acquired in 2012-2013. They were considerably valuable because of the increase in value,” he said.
Kivimäki further claims that the IP address authorities traced back to him could belong to several other people.