According to the United Nations, between 800 and 2,000 billion dollars are laundered each year in the world, which represents 2 to 5% of the world’s gross domestic product. Of this number, more than 90% are not detected. The exact volume of crypto laundering has yet to be established. However, there are some indicative statistics on the Internet.
A report by Cipher Trace indicates that crypto thefts, hacks and frauds totaled $1.36 billion in the first five months of 2020, compared to $4.5 billion in 2019.
According to the Chainalysis report, criminals laundered $2.8 billion in 2019 using crypto exchanges, up from $1 billion in 2018.
In 2019, total bitcoin spending on the dark web was $829 million, or 0.5% of all bitcoin transactions.
Earlier this year, a complaint was lodged with the IFSO unit of the New Delhi Special Cell by a woman alleging that she was being abused and threatened by strangers who sent her made-up and vulgar photographs to her family, friends. friends and family through social media. media.
The complainant had taken out a loan from a lending app, namely Cash Advance (Danakredit), which she repaid on time. But after repaying said amount, she started receiving threatening calls and WhatsApp messages from Cash Advance employees. The complainant further observed that the alleged scammers used the profile picture of a “senior police officer”.
During the investigations, money trails of alleged transactions were established and it was found that the money was transferred to a current account which had been opened in the name of Balaji Technology. Additionally, it was discovered that the technology name Balaji was used in a motorcycle repair shop. The owner of the account was found in the name of Rohit Kumar, a resident of Rajeev Nagar, Delhi. It was further found that in the alleged account, about Rs 8.45 crore was credited in just 15 days and the same was simultaneously transferred to other accounts.
During the interrogation of all the defendants, it was found that if a necessary person wants to take out a loan through the applications available online, he must first download the said application. At the time of downloading, the app asks for permission to capture, contact list, photo gallery and other personal data from the loan seeker’s phone.
As soon as permission was granted by the loan seeker, all their data was transferred to the Chinese servers. Once this process is completed, the scammers immediately got the loan amount transferred to the account of the loan seeker. One team was tracking these loan seekers and another was calling the loan seekers and their associates like close friends etc through different cell phone numbers to refund the loan seeker’s money. Even after the money was refunded, the alleged accused used to extort more money from the loan seeker and also started sharing the transformed vulgar photos of the loan seeker with his family, relatives and friends. friends to pressure victims into paying more money. The money paid by the victims was funneled through cryptocurrency links to China.
In another incident last year, Pawan Kumar Pandey, accused of running a shadow company to transfer defrauded money to his so-called ‘handlers in China’, was arrested last year in Noida in the district of Gautam Buddh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh. 19 laptops, 592 SIM cards, 5 mobile phones, 4 ATM cards and a passport were also recovered from him.
Uttarakhand police said the racketeering came to light following a complaint from two Haridwar residents: Rohit Kumar and Rahul Kumar Goyal.
“The plaintiffs claimed that a friend of theirs told them about a mobile app on Google Play Store named Power Bank, which doubled the return on investment in 15 days. Believing him, they downloaded the app and deposited 91 ₹200 and ₹73,000,” Uttarakhand Police revealed.
An investigation was launched by the special task force which found that the mobile app in question was available on Google Play Store between February 2021 and May 12, 2021, during which time it was downloaded by at least 50 lakh people . He also found that money deposited through the app was then transferred to the bank accounts of arrested defendants through payment gateways. After the cyber forensic investigation, it was learned that the app was linked to China, where Pandey’s managers are seated. They used to cash in the cryptocurrencies in their local currency to end the money laundering chain, which started by duping Indians through the app.
Cryptocurrency is digital or virtual currency protected by encryption. Cryptocurrencies are unique in that they are not issued by any central authority, making them potentially resistant to government intervention or manipulation. The biggest criticism facing cryptocurrencies is their use for illegal activities.
Advances in technology have given criminals faster and more secure options for washing away their ill-gotten money. There is no doubt that cryptocurrencies are a very useful technological innovation that helps individuals and institutions to access financial products and services in a faster and more profitable way. However, their rise as alternative value transfer and investment tools also raises money laundering concerns.
Cryptocurrencies are rapidly gaining popularity, but not everyone agrees as many governments have banned trading and trading in these digital tokens. While there are apparently over 5,000 known cryptocurrencies in the world today, analysts and experts still anticipate a rapid increase in the value of Bitcoin, the oldest and most valuable cryptocurrency in the world. . However, while some countries, like India, are slowing down their crypto markets, others, like Russia, Morocco, Egypt, and Bangladesh, are tightening. Recently, the Chinese central bank announced that all cryptocurrency transactions are illegal in the country.
The danger is that cryptocurrencies are a simple fact that cryptocurrencies are unregulated. They are currently unregulated by governments and central banks. However, recently they have started to attract more attention.