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Dutch Crypto Money Launderers finally Apprehended

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Nov 1, 2020

Even though there has been significant progress made where crypto and its global adoption is concerned, the industry is still dealing with a major proliferation of criminals. Another pair has been arrested by the police in the Netherlands and they have been charged over suspicion of running money-laundering operations. Reports indicate that a local couple was arrested by the Dutch police regarding concerns over a money-laundering operation. In the last two years, the couple had laundered a whopping $19 million and had funneled their ill-gotten gains via Bitcoin. Based in Hilversum, which is found in the northern part of the Netherlands, the couple had reportedly purchased the crypto and traded it without notifying the appropriate financial authorities. 

Furthermore, they had also allegedly contacted a few of their trading partners through the Dark Web, which automatically put the legitimacy of their activities into question. While trading, they did not obtain the relevant identify verification and Know-Your-Customer (KYC) details from their clients. This was despite the fact that some of the trades they made were worth millions of Euros. When their home was raided, the authorities seized approximately 2,500 BTC, which has a value of about $33 million. In addition, the police officials had also confiscated cell phones, jewelry, hard drives, and a vehicle. 

The couples’ businesses were also shut down by the authorities and they confiscated around €138,000, which is around $161,200, and €40,000, which is around $46,700. The companies would also be required to pay additional fines of about €45,000 each, which is $52,600. The two have already been charged by the Rotterdam District Court with money laundering. If they are found guilty, they would be facing a jail sentence of 30 months and a custodial period of six months. While there has been a surge in money laundering activities, the authorities have also made a lot of progress in tracking them. 

Earlier this month, the most comprehensive money laundering sweep of the crypto industry occurred in all its history when 33 criminals worldwide were arrested by law enforcement. Europol confirmed on October 15th that they had conducted an operation in 16 countries. This resulted in the arrest of 20 people who were suspected of having affiliations to the notorious QQAAZZ criminal network. In the past few years, the profile of the criminal network had grown and there had been money laundering accusations of millions of euros for leading cybercriminals since 2016. 

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The organization had allegedly funneled its funds by leveraging international bank accounts, crypto mixers, and shell companies in Poland and Bulgaria. It was confirmed by Europol that they had searched over 40 homes across Italy, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Latvia, and Spain. Arrests were also made by the authorities in Poland, Portugal, Australia, the United States, and more. On the same day, a New Zealand resident was also arrested by the authorities who had used crypto for laundering over $2 million for criminals. The man had bought a number of luxury vehicles for laundering the funds, including a Lamborghini and a Mercedes G63.

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