Criminals launder US$5.5 billion via cryptocurrencies, estimates Europol

calendar iconFeb 12, 2018


Approximately US$5.5 billion (or £3-4 billion) have been lost from criminals laundering ill-gotten gains through cryptocurrency, reveals Europol in an interview with BBC

As Europol works towards unravelling these 'untraceable transactions', we are reminded that even if cash were to suddenly disappear, criminals would still find ways to conduct their business anonymously. 

Europol Director Rob Wainwright estimates that at least 4% of criminal proceeds are transferred into cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. 

Excerpt from BBC interview article

Mr Wainwright said: "They're 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."

"It's very difficult for the police in most cases to identify who is cashing this out,"
"Rob WainwrightDirector of EuropolAs quoted in BBC interview

Another problem Europol has identified involves the method that criminals use to launder money.

Proceeds from criminal activity are being converted into bitcoins, split into smaller amounts and given to people who are seemingly not associated with the criminals but who are acting as "money mules"...

Read original BBC interview article here


Silva, Shiroma. 'Criminals hide 'billions' in crypto-cash - Europol''Criminals hide 'billions' in crypto-cash - Europol'. BBC News. Electronically published February 12, 2018. Accessed February 12, 2018.

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Last Updated: Feb 13, 2018