According to the body tasked with law-enforcement in Europe (Europol), criminals in Europe have laundered over $5 billion. This was according to data released by Rob Wainwright, the director of Europol. He added that the issue was growing quite quickly, and it was causing them concern.
The director also said that since they were not using banks, the police had a hard time monitoring them. Besides this, Mr. Wainwright added that even when police identified criminal transactions, they had no way of freezing the assets, unlike in a banking system.
How Money is Laundered
It is thought that in order to launder money, criminals simply purchase Bitcoin and split it into its simplest values, known as Satoshis. They then distribute them to different addresses. This process helps to erase any trail that the criminal might leave behind. However, this is not entirely true. Bitcoin has some flaws, and tech-savvy experts can trace them. However, one of its forks, Monero, is built specifically with traceability in mind.
Calls for Regulation Globally
This claim by Europol comes at a time when many governments in Europe are trying to crack down on crypto. The French and German finance ministers have both called for crypto to be regulated globally. They have cited the dangers it could pose to uneducated investors. This will no doubt influence their decision-making. As a result, it may lead to tougher regulation in Europe soon.
The British PM also expressed her fears on crypto and its use by criminals. She recently said that she was looking seriously into cryptocurrencies “because of the way they are used, particularly by criminals”.
The Chief of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, also recently told a summit in Dubai that there were probably many bad things being done with crypto. She said that the need for regulation was inevitable. The VP of RiskIQ, a cyber-security company in San Francisco, also lent his voice to the discussion.
He said that they were seeing threat actors globally exploiting what was already a hostile, lawless, digital world. He said that these threat actors were using various actions such as hacking and typo-squatting domains to siphon money.
This news also comes amid the arrest of cybercriminal Sergey Medvedev in Thailand. It is claimed that Medvedev, who runs the criminal marketplace Infraud was in possession of about 100,000 Bwhen he was arrested. This is quite clear proof that cyber criminals and other criminals love to use Bitcoin for various transactions.
What do you make of the claim that over $5 billion has been laundered in Europe via crypto? Are these claims likely to be true? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.