Officials from Hong Kong Customs announced Tuesday that they have arrested two people suspected of laundering more than $380 million via their personal bank accounts and a cryptocurrency trading platform.
After receiving intelligence from unidentified sources, customs authorities arrested the suspects, a 28 year-old woman, and her 21-year old brother.
The authorities discovered that the suspects had opened personal accounts at various banks in Hong Kong, including an online bank and a crypto trading platform. They then transferred funds via bank transfers, cash deposits and cryptocurrency transactions.
The customs officials stated that both were being held for dealing with property believed or reasonably believed to be the proceeds of an indictable crime.
The investigation is still ongoing and the siblings were released on bail with certain conditions. However, further arrests are possible. According to Hong Kong law, the suspects could spend up to 14 years in prison and a $5 million fine if they are found guilty.
Criminals Exploiting Crypto
As crypto continues its rise and edge towards global adoption criminals have made the digital asset space a playground for their illicit activities like money laundering and drug trafficking.
Chinese authorities arrested more than 1,000 suspects last June for using crypto assets to launder illegal funds for telecommunications fraud activities.
A Rotterdam court confiscated bitcoin worth approximately 29 million euros in October 2020 and sentenced two BTC traders for money laundering to 2 and 2.5 year imprisonments.
Regulators around the globe are looking for ways to reduce crypto’s use by criminals. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), announced plans in September to impose anti money laundering rules on crypto providers.
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