Regulators from across 16 different nations have joined hands to crack down on a global cryptocurrency-based money-laundering syndicate, that led to the arrest of 20 suspects from just one of the cases.
The Europol announced the successful operation conducted by these 16 countries on October 15, which resulted in the arrest of suspects who were believed to have been working for the QQAAZZ criminal network.
The criminal organization is responsible for laundering tens of millions of Euros for major cybercriminals since 2016. The racket allegedly operates using international bank accounts, shell companies based in Poland and Bulgaria, and via some cryptocurrency mixing services.
Authorities have searched more than 40 homes during this investigation in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Latvia, and Bulgaria as part of “Operation 2BaGoldMule.” Arrests were made in Australia, the U.S, the U.K, Portugal, Spain, Latvia, and Poland.
Some illegal Bitcoin mining equipment was also seized in Bulgaria.
A bad day for criminals
On the same day, an Auckland resident was arrested for using digital currencies to launder more than $2 million in funds for criminals. Besides using cryptocurrencies, the accused also made several costly purchases that include luxury vehicles like a Lamborghini and a Mercedes G63.
The accused is facing 3 charges that include allegations of deceiving a bank to obtain $1 million in credit. A day prior to this, six people were arrested following a series of raids and asset seizures throughout the nation.
The U.S. Department of Justice also unsealed a major indictment on October 15 that charged six people for their involvement in a conspiracy to “launder millions of dollars of drug proceeds on behalf of foreign cartels.”
The suspects allegedly used different bank accounts, casinos, multiple front companies, and cash smuggling to launder illicit funds for a drug syndicate.
One of the suspects also tried to bribe a United States Department of State official using cryptocurrencies, hoping that the official would arrange fraudulent documentation and passports for the suspects and his team.
Regulators all around the world seem to have become quite active when it comes to cryptocurrencies and crimes related to it.
As previously reported by The Daily Chain, The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission recently charges five corporate entities and three individuals who own and run BitMEX, including the well-known CEO, Arthur Hayes, for illegally offering “leveraged retail commodity transactions, futures, options, and swaps on cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ether, and litecoin, allowing traders to use leverage of up to 100 to 1 when entering into transactions on its platform.”