George Cottrell, the 22-year-old aide of Nigel Farage, a prominent member of the UK Independence Party, was detained by the FBI on 22 July, just as they were preparing to board a plane back to Britain from the O’Hare airport in Chicago.
It is suspected that he has been arrested on charges of offering to launder money for drug traffickers on the dark web.
George is currently in custody and is waiting for trial on 21 charges which include fraud, money laundering, and extortion.
Nigel Farage and Cottrell were in Cleveland, Ohio, to attend a Republican Convention.
They attended a series of meetings that were apparently attended by FBI officers who were closely monitoring Cottrell.
There the pair attended television shows, met US senators and spent time in discussions with aides who supported US presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Nigel Farage was shocked when five FBI agents arrested George Cottrell. Nigel Farage alleged that he was not given any information about this and that he knew nothing about Cottrell’s involvement in the dark web activities. Nigel was forced to return to the UK alone.
As Cottrell’s email and bank accounts have been frozen after his arrest, Nigel was purportedly unable to access his personal diary, according to reports.
Meanwhile, Cottrell was denied bail after the arrest as the authorities declared that he was a “serious flight risk.” Cottrell made a court appearance four days after his arrest.
He is expected to be extradited to Phoenix, Arizona, according to official sources of the FBI. Cottrell’s mother, Fiona Cottrell, daughter of Lord Manton, refused to comment.
Members of the UKIP said that he was an enthusiastic party worker (who worked for free), and the dark web deals that came out in the open now occurred at a time when he was not directly involved with party activities.
Cottrell resides in the upmarket Kensington, West London area, in a £2.5 million apartment. His family resides in Worcestershire.
George Cottrell and the Dark Web
As one of the closest aides of Nigel Farage, George was known to run his office and also handle media enquiries. During the Brexit Referendum, George Cottrell worked for free for Nigel Farage.
He is the nephew of Lord Hesketh who changed sides to UKIP from the Conservative Party in the year 2011.
Cottrell is alleged to have advertised his services on the dark web with “Bill” as his pseudonym. A set of potential clients who were drug traffickers contacted him in the year 2014.
Cottrell is said to have promised to launder funds through some of the offshore accounts that he owned and in turn promised complete security and anonymity for the clients.
However, he did not know that it was a group of FBI agents that posed as the dark web drug traffickers and established contact with him.
Cottrell used an encrypted messenger called Cryptocoat, Privnote, and Jabber for his dark web activities and to blackmail the agents.
Cottrell proceeded to meet the “drug traffickers” (undercover agents) in Las Vegas in person and worked out a deal to send him £15,500.
However, he then threatened to expose them to the authorities if they did not pay him an equivalent of £62,000 in bitcoin.
According to the indictment court documents, Cottrell had a gambling problem for many years.
This they said may be the reason for his irrational appetite for taking risks and getting involved with drug traffickers on the dark web.
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