We published a piece a few days ago about the death of Alexandre Cazes. It was nothing extraordinary on the face of it…
A foreigner hanging himself in Thailand having ran into trouble with the authorities in his home country. Literally, foreigner suicides happen almost daily in Thailand.
But this one seemed a little bit different. For a start, the cops had seized a grey Lamborghini, which would have been brought for the equivalent of $1m in Thailand, where massive import taxes push car prices sky high.
It then emerged Alexandre Cazes had three other Lamborghinis. Plus a number of expensive properties around Thailand.
He was either one seriously good computer programmer, as was his outward claim to friends and family, or he was up to something dodgy…
Of course, it turned out to be the latter.
But the full scale of that illegal activity only became clear when users of the AlphaBay – the world’s biggest dark web marketplace – began putting together the clues.
At the same time as the arrest of Cazes on July 5, the AlphaBay site had gone offline. Simultaneously, Cazes’ own website went down. It’s looking like they were being hosted on the same server.
Now, add into that mix the fact that there were raids by the FBI and Royal Canadian Mounted Policea home and a warehouse in Montreal and Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, – Cazes’ home town. The raids were connected with the ‘’dark web’’, according to the Montreal Gazette and Wall Street Journal, who both claimed to have had sources close to the raids.
For anyone who followed AlphaBay, the pieces were starting to fall together – the admin DeSnake was Alexandre Cazes and he was now dead.
Dozens of AlphaBay reddit threads began paying tribute to the alleged founder of the site as they unmasked him as the supposed mastermind behind the website selling stolen bank details, weapons, drugs, pornography and guides to committing fraud among other items.
AlphaBay user ‘’throwptk” said: ”So we all know about the bust related to ‘dark net market’ [in Canada].
”The son of that resident was living in Thailand. He was caught and arrested. That is DeSnake, death by suicide in his cell.’’
Curvoisier said on a different thread: ”Canadian living in Thailand. $12 million worth of assests. Programmer arrested in connection to DNM. Hangs himself in Thai cell before being extradited to USA. It all adds up. ‘’
Now, I’m no expert on the DarkWeb, but it seems like Cazes will still have plenty in physical assets hidden away in Thailand. No doubt his wife has instructions on how to access these.
What happens to any cryptocurrency that belonged to him or users of AlphaBay is anyone’s guess. The FBI aren’t going to come out any time soon to reveal all.
So little is actually known about the life of Alexandre Cazes. One of the only publicly available pictures of him are from his LinkedIn profile and a shot of him posing in front of a grey Lamborghini in Thailand. He used this picture on his Line messaging app, chatting with friends in Thailand who were also unaware of what he did for his money.
Even his wife, who told police that she ”accepted the finding of suicide”, seemingly had no clue what he was doing. It makes sense. Alexandre knew that if she knew, it would only be knowledge that would implicate her in the future should such an event like this happen.
So why did Alexandre Cazes commit suicide?
That’s a difficult one. He had millions of dollars worth of assets, the best lawyers at his disposal and the prospect of a trial in the U.S.
He must have either known the evidence against him was so overwhelming he stood no chance of getting off. And he couldn’t face the prospect of a double life sentence in the U.S., the same fate that befell Ross Ulbricht, who was convicted of creating and operating similar marketplace Silk Road, and was given a double life sentence which judges have upheld.
Or is it possible that Cazes held secrets that he wanted to take to the grave? Aware that he would be potentially interrogated aggressively, was there information he didn’t trust himself to keep secret… and the only way to ensure it never got out was a heroic act of suicide?
We’ll never know… but for now at least, part of the dark web remains seemingly permanently down.