BUSTED: Police shut down crypto ‘mixing’ operation

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BUSTED: Police shut down crypto ‘mixing’ operation

Dutch law enforcement, working with Europol and Luxembourg authorities, have shut down the Bestmixer.io crypto-mixing service following a year-long money laundering investigation.

The Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) and law enforcement in Luxembourg seized six servers that they allege were used by Bestmixer.io to launder money by mixing various cryptocurrencies with each other to help mask their origin.

Bestmixer.io had been highly successful

Europol reports that the seized operation was one of the three largest cryptocurrency mixing services – or ‘tumblers’ – in the world.

Since its launch in May 2018, law enforcement estimates that Bestmixer.io had achieved a turnover of more than US$200 million [AU$290.6 million].

The cryptocurrencies used in the mixing by Bestmixer.io include Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and the FIOD and Europol say that many of the virtual currencies on the tumbler had a criminal origin or destination.

The FIOD launched its investigation into the operation in June 2018 with assistance from the McAfee cybersecurity firm.

No arrests have been made so far, but the Dutch FIOD has collected extensive amounts of information, including transaction records, IP addresses, chat messages, and Bitcoin addresses.

The information gathered will be analyzed by Europol and the FIOD and then shared with law enforcement in other countries.

In January of this year, the Netherlands Authority for Financial Markets (AFM) and the country’s central bank, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), issued a report that called for licensing fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchanges and custody solution providers in order to combat money laundering.

Another crypto arrest in the Netherlands

In an unrelated incident, on Monday the Dutch FIOD arrested 33-year-old Berry van Mourik for allegedly running a fraudulent Bitcoin mining scheme worth more than $2.2 million.

Netherlands

Van Mourik allegedly convinced roughly 100 people to buy computers to be used for Bitcoin mining, but instead of using the money for its intended purpose, he instead spent it on gambling, cars, travel, and motorcycles.

Van Mourik started the scam back in 2017 when he launched two companies that each promised to reward investors with a return of 0.3 bitcoin per month.

Disgruntled investors contacted authorities when the promised returns, as well as the Bitcoin mining computers they had purchased, never materialized.

Europol

Europol has been busy

Bestmixer.io is the latest cryptocurrency money laundering enterprise shut down with help from Europol.

Earlier this month, Europol and law enforcement in Spain broke up a “crime as a service” operation where the group would collect fiat sent to them from criminals, move it through various bank accounts in small amounts, and then convert the fiat into cryptocurrency by using two Bitcoin ATMs the gang owned.

The Spanish operation resulted in the arrest of eight individuals as well as eight more being charged for their alleged involvement with the scheme.