The Dutch public prosecution office is looking at three pending cases involving the digital currency bitcoin and money laundering in 2017.
In a report from Financieele Dagblad, a Dutch daily newspaper, the public prosecution department is aiming to tackle money laundering by cracking down on the issue that the country is facing.
The first case to be heard will take place on February 6 involving a 24-year-old man from Amsterdam and a 27-year-old man from Utrecht. They are accused of laundering €2.4 million with the use of bitcoins.
In the second case, four Dutch nationals are involved who are alleged to have set up a currency exchange enabling them to turn bitcoins into euros.
The third case, which is expected to be heard at the end of 2017, forms part of a money laundering gang under the codename of IJsberg.
According to a 2016 report from Europol, bitcoin remains the currency of choice for much of cybercrime.
The report found that with criminal to criminal (C2C) payments, where a high level of anonymity is preferred, bitcoin is the favored payment choice for many C2C transactions.
Not only that, but despite its relative small size compared to other countries, a report from September has found that the Netherlands is one of the leading countries selling drugs through darknet vendors online.
In January last year, Dutch prosecutors announced the arrest of ten men suspected of using bitcoin to launder up to 20 million euros. It was reported that the suspects, who are believed to be of Dutch, Moroccan and Lithuanian nationality and in their 20s, were seen as facilitators to drug dealers operating on the Dark Web laundering their bitcoins into money.
The Dutch nation, like many countries, has a problem with the dark web and its illegal activities.
So much so, that it was reported late last year that the Dutch authorities had taken down a dark web marketplace and posted a warning on it. This was part of Operation Hyperion, an operation conducted by law enforcement agencies all over the world.
If a user went to the webpage it was reported that their details had been identified by the Dutch police with the warning ‘you have our attention’ posted on it. The consequences a user would face depended on the activity they would have undertaken.
With three cases to be heard this year in the Netherlands the Dutch public prosecution office is determined to crackdown on the growing problem of the dark web one way or another.
What this message is likely to send to other dark web vendors remains to be seen. While it's unlikely to prevent illegal activities from taking place straight away, it is hoped that it will give those food for thought as to the consequences they could potentially face if and when they are caught.
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