International Investigation Sees Dutch Nab Bitcoin-Euro Launderers

Journalist:
January 20, 2016

Dutch prosecutors have announced the arrest of ten men suspected of using Bitcoin to launder up to 20 million euros (approx. $21.8 million).

A major international investigation that reportedly involved officials from countries including the United States, Australia, Lithuania and Morocco has resulted in the apprehending of ten men in Netherlands, Dutch prosecutors announced today.

The prosecutors made a marked statement to emphasize that traders engaging in illegal operations on the Dark Web, aren’t always doing so anonymously. Referencing this, a  statement by the prosecutors read:

However, the investigation showed that the Dark Web does not guarantee anonymity and that the FIOD can also do the detective work. FIOD and Public Prosecutor will share their findings with the Authority for Financial Markets and the Dutch Banking Association.

The suspects, reportedly of Dutch, Moroccan and Lithuanian nationality and in their 20s are seen as facilitators to drug dealers operating on the Dark Web launder their bitcoins into money, according to Dutch national publication De Telegraff.

The Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) were tipped off by an unnamed bank when large sums of euros were deposited in a suspect’s account and was quickly withdrawn through ATMs on the same day.

FIOD spokeswoman Valentine Hoen revealed the FIOD raided 15 different locations in the Netherlands in a coordinated operation. The prosecution revealed the seizure of cash, luxury cars, bank accounts and 15 kilograms of ingredients for the manufacture of Ecstasy. Altogether, over 250 law enforcement officials participated in the comprehensive raids.

Furthermore, the publication revealed the FIOD’s money laundering team were working on the investigation for at least two years when the tip from the bank came in.

Law enforcement agencies in the United States and Australia have also seized bitcoin wallets belonging to the gang of money launderers, through rogatory letters.

Spokeswoman Hoen added that a judge in Rotterdam will issue a ruling on the suspects’ detention on Friday.

Image from Shutterstock.

Samburaj Das @sambdas

Samburaj is the Editor for CCN, among the earliest and foremost publications covering financial and blockchain news. He has authored over 2,000 articles for CCN. Email him samburaj(@)ccn.com or find him barely tweeting @sambdas