UPDATE 1-Digital currency firm co-founder gets 20 years in U.S. prison
(Adds details from court hearing, background on case)
By Nate Raymond
NEW YORK May 6 (Reuters) - The co-founder of Liberty Reserve, the operator of what had been a widely-used digital currency, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Friday for conspiring to help cyber criminals launder hundreds of millions of dollars using its services.
Arthur Budovsky, 42, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan, who said a substantial punishment was warranted for his role in running a money laundering operation that prosecutors said was of unprecedented scope.
"Sad to say, Mr. Budovsky used his enormous talents here in a way that led to widespread harm," she said.
Budovsky, who pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to commit money laundering, was also ordered to forfeit $122 million and fined $500,000. He said nothing in court as his lawyer, John Kaley, argued for less than 15 years in prison.
"Remorse has been exhibited here," he said.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian Everdell sought the maximum 20-year sentence given Budovsky's role "at the helm of this sweeping enterprise."
Liberty Reserve operated a widely used digital currency, processing more than $8 billion in financial transactions and earning Budovsky over $25 million, prosecutors said. Continuación...