Two arrested for money laundering using cryptocurrency; One tied to Bestmixer.io shutdown

Bitcoin cryptocurrency and euros
Bitcoin and Ethereum "tokens" on a stack of euros. November 29, 2017.photo: outsiderzone / DepositPhotos

The Tax Authority's investigative department FIOD arrested two men in separate investigations into money laundering using cryptocurrency. Roughly a half-million euros in cryptocurrency, fiat cash, and gold was seized in the two cases, the tax investigation agency FIOD said on Tuesday. 

The suspects, both arrested on Monday, mainly used bitcoin, but other digital currencies were also used, AD reports based on information from the Public Prosecution Service.

In the first case, a 45-year-old man from Noordwijk was arrested on suspicion of laundering over 2 million euros. "The suspect made large purchases with a crypto credit card that could not be explained by his income and assets as declared to the tax authorities," the FIOD said. "He also made several large cash withdrawals with this card."

After his arrest, FIOD seized three kilograms of gold worth approximately 141 thousand euros, dozens of crypto wallets with a total of around 260 thousand euros in cryptocurrency on them, ten thousand euros in cash, debit and credit cards, watches, jewelry, and a car. The authorities are investigating how the man obtained these assets.

In the other investigation, a 31-year-old man from the province of Groningen was arrested. He is suspected of laundering around 100 thousand euros along with two accomplices.

They allegedly used former cryptocurrency mixing service Bestmixer.io to launder the cash. The website offered clients the possibility "to mix potentially identifiable or 'tainted' cryptocurrency funds with others, so as to obscure the trail back to the fund's original source," Europol said in May 2019 after a Dutch-led investigation into the site forced it offline.

"The investigation to date shows that many of the mixed crypto currencies have a criminal origin or destination," FIOD said at the time.

The suspect from Groningen was discovered because of information obtained in that case last year. His IP address was linked to a bitcoin address used on the former website, FIOD stated. The authorities seized computers, smartphones and other data devices in this investigation.

Bestmixer.io achieved was in operation for just one year before it was shut down. At the time, FIOD said the site achieved a turnover of 25 thousand bitcoin, or at least $200 million in the estimate provided at that time. That amount of bitcoin would be worth over $240 million using current trading figures.

Authorities said more arrests are possible in connection with the 2019 investigation into Bestmixer.

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