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The FIOD and the Public Prosecution Service take money laundering machine for cryptocurrencies offline

22 mei 2019 16:17

On 22 May the FIOD and the Public Prosecution Service took one of the largest online mixers for cryptocurrencies offline, named Bestmixer.io. This operation deals a severe blow to the concealment of criminal flows of money by mixing cryptocurrencies such as bitcoins.

Six operational servers have been dismantled and seized in the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

The investigation was conducted in close cooperation with the Dutch Digital Intrusion Team (DIGIT), Europol and the authorities in Luxembourg, France and Latvia. In June 2018 the Financial Advanced Cyber Team (FACT) of the FIOD started the investigation under the supervision of the National Public Prosecutor’s Office for Serious Fraud and Environmental Crime and Asset Confiscation. The reason for the investigation was a report from cyber security company McAfee.

The investigation gathered information regarding transactions between customers and Bestmixer.io. The customers are located all over the world, especially in the US, Germany and the Netherlands. The FIOD will analyse the information together with Europol. After that the data will be shared with other countries.

Mixing cryptocurrencies

On the anonymous part of the Internet, the darknet, cryptocurrencies are a regular means of payment and are often used as means of payment in the criminal world.

A crypto mixing service is an online service that makes it possible to conceal the origin or destination of cryptocurrencies. This service is used to split up cryptocurrencies against payment of a commission, after which they are mixed together in a different combination.

People who use a mixing service probably do so to increase their anonymity. The investigation so far shows that many of the mixed cryptocurrencies have a criminal origin or destination. In these cases the mixer was probably used to conceal and launder criminal flows of money.

The total turnover of darknet markets amounts to approx. $800 million per year. It is believed that a large part of the payments via the darknet take place via mixers in order to launder the criminal (crypto) money.

One of the three largest mixing services

Bestmixer.io is one of the three largest mixing services for cryptocurrencies and offered services for mixing the cryptocurrencies bitcoins, bitcoin cash and litecoins. The service started in May 2018 and achieved a turnover of at least $200 million (approx. 25,000 bitcoins) in a year’s time and guaranteed that the customers would remain anonymous.

The operation against Bestmixer.io is a significant and important step in the fight against criminal flows of money in general and virtual criminal flows of money in particular.

Information: Adriaan Ros, mob. 06-1830 4204.