ANOM ‘sting’ app leads to $5M bounty offer by FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has put a massive bounty on a Swedish resident wanted for murder, drug trafficking, money laundering, and kidnapping. The suspect was flushed out by ANOM, a fake criminal communications app set up by the FBI.

Maximilian Rivkin, 39, is thought to be of Serbian origin but residing in Sweden. Now he appears to be on the run, whereabouts unknown, with the FBI offering a $5 million bounty for any information that leads to his arrest or conviction.

The FBI says it has shared digital copies of Rivkin’s criminal conversations between 2020 and 2021 with police in Sweden, who believe that he took part in a litany of conspiracies to commit murder, sell drugs, clean dirty cash, and kidnap victims.

Rivkin is already wanted in the US. In 2021, he was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of California and charged with conspiracy to participate in racketeering.

He was just one on a hundreds-strong list of criminal suspects to be flushed out by the FBI’s ANOM app, which it clandestinely set up in 2018 and falsely but legally promoted as an encrypted communication platform “designed by criminals for criminals.”

The lure saw the FBI tap millions of digital messages. It led to more than 500 arrests in Europe and Australia in 2021 after unsuspecting criminals from around 100 countries sold more than 12,000 devices installed with the app.

Rivkin was among the suspects named at the time who eluded justice and remained at large. Now, it appears that authorities in the US and Sweden consider his capture to be worth millions of dollars.

The FBI adds that government employees and officials are not eligible for any reward.