Dutch authorities seized over 25 million euros ($28.6) worth in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies due to alleged criminal activity.
A Chainalysis 2021 report revealed that in 2019 the volume of illicit crypto activity represented a small 2.1% of all transactions, and in 2020 that volume fell 0.34%, but their expectation for 2021 was for “cybercriminal use of DeFi for money laundering to increase”.
just as the cryptocurrency industry is always evolving, so too are the bad actors who commit cryptocurrency-related crime.
The Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD), the National Criminal Investigation Department (DLR), and the Public Prosecution Service (OM) worked together on a mix of investigations with the intention of seizing crypto wallets linked to criminal activities.
The authorities claimed in a public announcement that they “increasingly encounter cryptocurrencies in forms of crime such as drug and human trafficking, fraud and tax evasion.”
Greater than 25 million euros in cryptocurrencies corresponding to bitcoin and ethereum have been seized from dozens of suspects.
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The Public Prosecution Service further commented their opinion on why cryptocurrencies are being used for criminal activities:
Possession and use of cryptocurrencies is authorized but additionally common amongst criminals. The reason being that criminals understand cryptocurrencies as nameless and they are often moved world wide shortly. Cryptocurrencies are due to this fact broadly used as a method of cost for numerous sorts of crime.
Dutch and foreign crypto exchanges reportedly helped the FIOD and OM with the operation after the corresponding legal actions were taken.
The OM explains that these companies are “obliged to take action beneath Dutch legislation,” adding that their collaboration made it possible to access the “crypto wallets managed by criminals” and retrieve the $28.6 million worth in cryptocurrencies. The value is expected to be eventually transferred to the state treasury.
The investigation additionally revealed that criminals counteract undesirable alternate charges by changing cryptocurrencies into so-called ‘stablecoins’ corresponding to USDT. These are cryptocurrencies whose worth are linked to the U.S. greenback,
As some suspects are outside the Netherlands, the authorities called for foreign counterparts to cooperate and send them over to the country right after being identified.
In 2013, the first seize of Cryptocurrencies in the Netherlands happened. Afterward, the OM believes investigations have improved, gotten better, and faster. The investigation services have learned to collect evidence through traces left by suspects of illicit activities involving crypto. This has allowed the authorities to spot them and seize their assets.
A rough estimate of 700,000 Dutch people invests in bitcoin through Bitcoin Meesters, the largest crypto exchange in the Netherlands, but the total number of investors in the country remains unclear.
The Dutch central bank (DNB) has registered around 20 cryptocurrency service providers, but a spokesperson commented “It only means that the providers are not involved in criminal activities, but that is as far as monitoring goes.”
Regardless of the remarkable performance of Bitcoin over the year and the world slowly but unavoidably adapting towards cryptocurrencies, the Dutch investors association (VEB) and the DNB have been warring around Bitcoin and are not convinced of its utility, the latter expressed that the bank is “not advising for or against investment but we do have an opinion,” which is not an amicable one.