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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

$5-M Reward Offered For Man Who Sold Encrypted Phones Tracked By FBI

The United States has offered a $5 million reward for a Swedish man who marketed an encrypted communications network for drug traffickers — unaware that the technology was developed by the FBI, CBS News reported.

Photo Insert: Rivkin was named in a US indictment at the time for trafficking, money laundering and racketeering arising from Operation Trojan Shield.

The State Department posted the hefty reward for Maximilian Rivkin, who has escaped arrest since the 2021 takedown of the ANOM network, which saw 800 arrested on three continents and 38 tons of drugs and $48 million seized.

Rivkin was named in a US indictment at the time for trafficking, money laundering and racketeering arising from Operation Trojan Shield.

"Rivkin was administrator and influencer of an encrypted communication service used by criminals worldwide," the State Department said.

"His communications on the platform implicated him in several nefarious activities, including his alleged participation in drug trafficking, money laundering, murder conspiracy and other violent acts," Agence France-Presse (AFP) also reported.

All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

Officials said Rivkin has scars on his knee and fingers as well as a tattoo of three monkeys on his right arm. His nicknames allegedly include "Malmo," "Teamsters," "Microsoft" and "Max."

Officials say he was a central player in the FBI-led operation. In 2018, FBI forced a man who had built encrypted phones for criminals to develop an updated version for which the FBI would hold the sole digital master key.

Government & politics: Politicians, government officials and delegates standing in front of their country flags in a political event in the financial district.

With the man's help, the system was marketed as ANOM and promoted by "influencers" like Rivkin, who took a key role in convincing others to use it, with spectacular success.

More than 12,000 ANOM phones were sold at $2,000 apiece in more than 100 countries, including Italian organized crime, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and international drug cartels, the US Justice Department said.

Business: Business men in suite and tie in a work meeting in the office located in the financial district.

From them, the FBI collected 27 million messages on operations large and small. One showed a trafficker arranging to send two kilograms of cocaine to Europe from Colombia using the French embassy's protected diplomatic pouch.

Another showed two traffickers arranging to get cocaine into Hong Kong in banana shipments. After three years, the FBI and global partners had so much criminal activity on record from Trojan Shield they had to bring the network down.

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