The stolen Bitcoin worth more than $4bn (£2.9bn) has been seized by the US Department of Justice.

Officials also charged two people on Tuesday on attempting to launder the money, stolen by hackers who breached the cryptocurrency platform in 2016.

The hacker is said to have escaped with nearly 120,000 Bitcoins. Then worth about $71bn, its value now exceeds $5bn.

About 94,000 Bitcoins have been recovered.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite Jr. said the seizure was evidence the government “will not allow cryptocurrencies to be a safe haven for money laundering or a zone of lawlessness in our financial system.”

The money came from a 2016 hacking of a crypto exchange known as Bitfinex.

According to Justice Department officials, a hacker breached the platform, made more than 2,000 transactions without permission and then funneled the money into a digital wallet allegedly operated by Ilya Lichtenstein.

The criminal complaint alleges Lichtenstein and his wife, Heather Morgan, laundered about 25,000 Bitcoins stolen through various accounts over the past five years and used a variety of methods to cover up their tracks from fake identities to convert their Bitcoin to other digital currencies.

In a statement, Bitfinex said it had cooperated with the investigation and was pleased that the stolen funds had been recovered.

Lichtenstein and Morgan will appear before a federal judge on Tuesday, on charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The seizure of the assets came four months after the launch of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team at the Department of Justice.

In what is believed to be the biggest financial hijacking ever, the team seized about $ 2.3 million in cryptocurrencies last year, recovering ransom money paid by the Colonial Pipeline company to end a crippling cyber attack.

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