Liberty Reserve head pleads guilty to laundering charges

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The founder of payment processing company Liberty Reserve pleaded guilty to charges his online bank laundered millions of dollars for criminals.

Arthur Budovsky entered the plea in Manhattan federal court Friday to conspiring to commit money laundering. He faces 20 years in prison.

U.S. officials say the 40-year-old Budovsky used Liberty Reserve as a kind of underworld bank that handled billions of dollars in illicit transactions for 1 million users, including 200,000 in the U.S.

Budovsky has said he created a secure platform for online financial transactions. Budovsky moved his business to Costa Rica after he was convicted on state charges related to an unlicensed money transmitting business. He renounced his American citizenship after setting up there, where all online businesses are legal and laws do not regulate them.