Brazilian Police Raid Six Crypto Exchanges in International Money Laundering Ring Bust
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Police and tax authorities in Brazil have launched a major operation in which they have raided six domestic crypto exchanges. They believe that the platforms may be involved in massive international crime and money laundering.
In a joint statement, Brazil’s federal tax agency (known locally as the Receita Federal, or federal tax agency) and the federal police force said the raids were part of what they called “Operation Colossus.” .”
Officials explained that they believe that around $380 million worth of dirty money has been laundered through domestic crypto trading platforms – and that a single “criminal organization” is behind it.
“The operation is fighting against a criminal organization committed to money laundering, which has used a complex remittance system. [The organization] has sent illegal resources abroad by buying and selling crypto-assets.”
Authorities said the organization had used a network of “shell companies” and “transferred funds through escrow accounts” before purchasing “crypto-assets.”
The money, they claimed, included “laundered funds, drug-trafficking profits, laundered money” and the proceeds of a number of “crimes against the national financial system”.
A total of 158 officers were sent to addresses in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Bahia and Santa Catarina.
Crypto Exchanges Raid
Media publication Metropoles reported that the criminal court in São Paulo had issued 101 warrants in connection with the case, as well as “two arrest warrants” and 37 search and seizure warrants.
22 of them were granted to individuals and 15 to companies.
Six of these search warrants were issued to crypto exchanges, although the identities of the trading platforms have not been disclosed. In addition, four other financial institutions that have business licenses issued by the central bank in the foreign exchange market, as well as three accounting offices, have been searched.
The media outlet added that the ring’s operators were allegedly “responsible for buying large amounts of crypto-assets from overseas, such as the United States, Singapore and Hong Kong,” and then sold these tokens on the Brazilian black market.
Authorities added that they believed the criminal organization had been active for up to four years before Operation Colossus was launched.
The development comes as talk of crypto regulation begins to intensify in Brazil, with regulators now competing to control the sector.