Saturday, February 4, 2023

Hong Kong Officials Smashes First Crypto Laundering Bust

A money-laundering syndicate operating in Hong Kong has been demolished, said the country’s customs officials on Thursday.

They further reported that the scammers running the syndicate used cryptocurrency to convert HK $1.2 billion ($155 million) in illegal funds. According to them, this was the first successful operation of its kind.

“It is the first time in Hong Kong that a money-laundering ring involved in using cryptocurrency to wash dirty cash and conceal the source of criminal assets was broken up,” Senior Superintendent Mark Woo Wai-kwan told reporters.

As per the report, the money laundering syndicate was being operated by four men and a local resident, who is considered to be the mastermind of this operation. They all were taken into custody but soon got bailed. However, the officials had seized some HK $20 million, at the time of the investigation. 

All the arrested suspects used the shell companies to open various accounts in the local banks. Then they process a crypto transaction through an exchange to convert the laundered digital assets into fiat money for clients.

Around 60 percent of the funds had been channeled through bank accounts in Singapore, over the last 15 months.

The officials have mentioned that the group involved in money-laundering, were trading in privacy coins issued by Tether.

Although it is hard to trace crypto transactions, law enforcement agencies are advancing this technology. 

On Tuesday, the British Police confiscated cryptocurrency worth a record $338.3 million. As per the investigators, the seized fund was being used in criminal enterprises.

This is not it, a month ago, over a thousand people were taken into custody by the Chinese law enforcement agencies for using the profit from crime to buy cryptocurrencies.

Hong Kong has been a laundering hotspot for a long time now, that is because it is a business-friendly global financial hub.

Money-laundering syndicate is a serious issue for Hong Kong authorities, and for that, they have claimed to do their best to prosecute criminal enterprises.

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