Although much progress has been made with cryptocurrency and its adoption globally, the industry still faces a significant proliferation of criminals. In the Netherlands, police officers arrested another couple and charged them after suspicious money laundering operations.
Work freely with criminals?
According to reports, Dutch police arrested a local couple in connection with a money laundering operation. The couple had laundered more than $ 19 million in the past two years, funneling their ill-gotten gains through Bitcoin.
Based in Hilversum, in the north of the Netherlands, the couple allegedly bought Bitcoin and traded the asset without notifying the relevant financial authorities. In addition, they would have used the Dark Web to contact some of their business partners, thus questioning the legitimacy of their activities.
While they were exchanging, they apparently failed to get the proper Know-Your-Customer (KYC) and identity verification details from their customers. This despite the fact that some of their transactions amounted to millions of euros.
A search of their home led to the seizure of 2,500 BTC, worth around $ 33 million. The police also confiscated a vehicle, jewelry, cell phones and hard drives. Authorities also shut down the couple’s businesses, confiscating € 138,000 ($ 161.20) and € 40,000 ($ 46,700). Businesses will have to pay additional fines of € 45,000 ($ 52,600) each.
The Rotterdam District Court has already charged the two men with money laundering. If found guilty, they face up to 30 months in prison, followed by a six-month detention period.
While money launderers have seen an upsurge, law enforcement authorities have also shown significant progress in their follow-up.
Earlier this month, the crypto industry experienced what is perhaps the most comprehensive crypto money laundering sweep in its history, as law enforcement arrested 33 criminals in the world. On October 15, Europol confirmed that he had carried out an operation in 16 countries, resulting in the arrest of 20 people suspected of being affiliated with the notorious criminal network QQAAZZ.
The profile of the criminal network has grown in recent years, with charges of laundering millions of euros for top cybercriminals since 2016. The organization has reportedly used crypto mixers, international bank accounts and shell companies in Bulgaria and Poland to channel its funds.
As Europol has confirmed, searches have taken place in more than 40 homes in Spain, the UK, Latvia, Italy and Bulgaria. Authorities have also made arrests in Portugal, Poland, the United States, Australia, etc.
On the same day, New Zealand authorities arrested an Auckland resident who used crypto to launder more than $ 2 million for criminals. The man had laundered the funds by purchasing several luxury vehicles, including a Mercedes G63 and a Lamborghini. Through The New Zealand Herald, he now faces up to 30 charges, while six other residents have been arrested in a series of raids and seizures across the country.
In the United States, the Department of Justice also unsealed a charge against six people for their participation in a money laundering scheme that transferred money on behalf of foreign cartels.
According to the indictment, the individuals used shell companies, casinos and bank accounts to carry out their operation. A suspect also reportedly planned to bribe an official in Stet’s department using crypto assets, in hopes of obtaining fake passports for him and his cohorts.