$29 million in crypto were seized over the last few months in money laundering investigations carried out by Dutch law enforcers, the Public Prosecution Service announced on November 8.

Several investigations spanning the last few months were conducted by Dutch authorities including the National Criminal Investigation Service, the Public Prosecution Service, and the Tax Authority’s financial investigation service FIOD.

More than 25 million euros ($29 million) in Bitcoin and Ethereum from digital wallets of several dozens of money launderers were seized in these investigations. Many of the suspects have still not been identified due to the anonymity provided by cryptocurrency deposits and transactions.

According to UToday, the identified suspects belonged to both the Netherlands and other countries. Although the Dutch authorities haven’t arrested anyone yet, they have requested their foreign counterparts to send over the suspects to the Netherland with immediate effect.

Several Dutch and foreign crypto exchanges played a role in the investigation and seizure of the large amount as the Dutch law requires currency exchanges to collaborate. 

While the first records of crypto seizures in the Netherlands date back to 2013, the euro value of the seized cryptocurrencies has grown significantly from the previous years, as the authorities reported a confiscated amount of €8 billion in 2020, whereas the total in 2019 was calculated up to 1 million euros.

The Public Prosecution Service (OM) spokesperson refused to specify how the suspects used the seized money, but provided examples of offenses such as the use of digital currencies for drug trafficking, fraud, tax evasion, and human trafficking. 

The confiscated amount from several crypto wallets is set to be transferred to the state treasury. According to the OM, the investigations against money laundering have improved in the past years, with the authorities constantly looking for traces to identify criminals and find evidence in order to seize the illegal assets.


Tuesday, November 16, 2021