Criminals in Europe Laundered $5.5 bln in Crypto
February 13, 2018
As the head of European Police Office says, criminals in Europe used cryptocurrency for laundering illegal $5.5 bln (4 bln. lb).
The director of Europol Rob Wainwright has estimated that up to 4% of revenues from criminal activities in Europe is laundered via currencies like Bitcoin ans he expects this number to rise on.
As Wainwright put it, according to Europol lasting estimate of illegal funds circulating in Europe amounts to 100 bln lb. Using his 4%-ratio for the figure gained with cryptocurrencies makes 4 bln lb or 5.5 bln USD.
Wainwright noted in his interview to BBC, it is rather challenging for police to stop illegal crypto transactions as they cannot freeze crypto wallets and accounts.
“They [cryptocurrencies] are not banks and governed by a central authority so the police cannot monitor those transactions. And if they do identify them as criminal they have no way to freeze the assets unlike in the regular banking system”, he explained.
Wainwright called crypto exchange operators for taking more effort in collaborating with police during investigations and cultivate a sense of responsibility.
Law enforcement bodies’ members feel more concerned with organized underworld using cryptocurrencies. Last week a drug dealer in Wales was sentenced to 8-year-imprisonment for launching a dark web store with trading in Bitcoin only.