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Bitcoin dealers charged in US court with money laundering

WASHINGTON--U.S. authorities Monday filed criminal charges against two operators of a Bitcoin exchange, including the head of a company with high-profile investment backers.

A criminal complaint unsealed by officials said the Bitcoin exchange violated money laundering laws by allowing its users to buy drugs and other illicit goods on the Silk Road underground website.

Federal prosecutors said they charged Robert Faiella and Charlie Shrem, who ran a company allowing people to use cash to buy Bitcoins, a virtual currency based on a mysterious computer algorithm.

The two are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and running an unlicensed money transmitting business, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office in New York.

Shrem, 24, who was also charged with violating the Bank Secrecy Act by failing to file any suspicious activity reports, was arrested Sunday at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, officials said.

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