- Taiwan’s Criminal Bureau’s Electronic Investigation Team successfully busts a $320 million crypto money laundering operation.
- The operation, led by a merchant named Qiu, spanned multiple Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, the Philippines, and Hong Kong.
- The investigation uncovered fraudulent mobile software linked to Taishin Securities, leading to the discovery of this elaborate money laundering scheme.
Taiwan’s Criminal Bureau’s Electronic Investigation Team has successfully dismantled a big crypto money laundering operation, unearthing a vast network of illegal activities spanning multiple Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, the Philippines, and Hong Kong. Led by a merchant named Qiu, this elaborate scheme came under the authorities’ radar during an investigation into fraudulent mobile software associated with Taishin Securities.
The Elaborate Scheme Unveiled
The investigation revealed that Qiu, a 40-year-old individual, orchestrated this intricate web of deceit. The operation’s modus operandi involved channeling victims’ money through numerous shell accounts before reaching Qiu, where it was then converted into cryptocurrencies. This process effectively concealed the money’s origins, facilitating money laundering. Qiu would pocket a 1% commission on each transaction, and his frequent overseas travels, especially to gambling and fraud groups, heightened suspicions of his involvement in other criminal activities.
Swift Action by Authorities
Gathering substantial evidence, the prosecutor’s office acted swiftly. On June 13, as Qiu returned to Taiwan from Taoyuan Airport, the authorities apprehended him, ensuring he faced the consequences of his actions. During the investigation, the police seized crucial digital evidence from Qiu’s mobile phone.
Assets Seized and a Staggering Crypto Wallet
In addition to apprehending Qiu, the police seized a range of luxury items and assets that were linked to the illicit operation. These included a Lamborghini URUS, a Lexus LM, three Apple watches valued at a million yuan, a substantial sum of 210,000 yuan in cash, laptops, debit cards, passbooks, and drugs such as coffee pods and K-tamine.
Furthermore, Qiu’s cryptocurrency wallet proved to be a crucial piece of evidence. It had processed a staggering 320 million Tether (USDT) coins since mid-February of the previous year, with these tokens holding a converted market value of more than 10.48 billion yuan. Within this wallet, Qiu had handled 2,166,177 illegally obtained Tether coins, with an approximate market value of 70 million yuan. This money laundering operation set a new record for the amount of illicit funds detected and seized by the Electronic Investigation Team.
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Accomplices in Fraud and Money Laundering
The case expanded to involve three other individuals – a 25-year-old foreign affairs officer surnamed Liao, a 30-year-old operator named Chen, and a 31-year-old named Huang, all working within the same network. A comprehensive investigation by the police identified them as accomplices in both fraud and money laundering activities.
Taiwan’s successful crackdown on this $320 million crypto money laundering reminds us about the other side of the crypto adoption and the challenges the industry is facing. With the arrest of Qiu and the exposure of his vast network, law enforcement has taken a step toward curbing illegal financial activities in Southeast Asia.
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