Europol Busted Gang That Used Bitcoin for Money Laundering

Yesterday, Europol, the European Police that coordinates actions between all law enforcement bodies, dismantled a criminal ring that received money from drug trafficking and used bitcoins as a means to launder and move it without raising suspicion. The ring operated in Spain and had ties with Colombia, the place where the money was sent when it was “cleaned” (when it was not suspected of being obtained by illegal means).
According to the report published by the Europol on their website, the criminals received the money from other separated criminal groups and then proceeded to launder it, that is, introducing it in another country (in this case, Colombia) making it seem legit. This was carried out in two ways: first, the criminals used bank accounts and credit cards, operating in this way: They deposited the cash into more than 170 accounts, to hide the big amounts of money laundered. The criminals then traveled to Colombia with multiple credit cards and made multiple cash withdrawals to the ringleaders’ accounts.
The second way was devised when they found out that credit card operations could be easily followed. Then they turned to bitcoin to make it more difficult to detect their transactions. The criminals then used the money to buy Bitcoin from a Finnish exchange, and they exchanged it for bitcoins that would be sent to the ringleaders’ wallet in Colombia. Then they changed it for Colombian pesos to be deposited in their accounts. The criminals were busted thanks to a joined action between the Finnish exchange and the Spanish police
More than 137 people are being investigated for lending their accounts for this crime, and 11 people were arrested in an Operation called Tulipan Blanca (White Tulip) by the Spanish Police. The Europol declared that they are aware of the use of cryptocurrencies in criminal activities. They will continue to offer support to other European law enforcement agencies training officials to detect cryptocurrency related crimes earlier.

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