Interpol seizes USD 130 million in cryptocurrencies in global operation

In the so-called "HAECHI III" operation, 975 people from various parts of the world were arrested on suspicion of committing various cyber crimes.

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A multi-country mega-operation by Interpol, has seized $130 million in cryptocurrencies and cash from a number of cybercriminal groups in several parts of the world.

The police operation, called HAECHI III, was carried out between June and November this year in 30 countries to recover funds that were stolen through a “wide range of cyber financial crimes and money laundering”, the police organisation said in a statement.

As part of the investigations and proceedings, 975 suspects were arrested. In addition, almost 2,800 cryptocurrency addresses and bank accounts linked to illicit financial crime proceeds were blocked.

Among the cybercrimes employed by the suspected criminals were voice impersonation, romance scams, sextortion, investment fraud and money laundering associated with illegal online gambling.

The procedure was coordinated by Interpol’s Anti-Corruption and Financial Crime Centre, with support from Interpol National Central Bureaus in several countries around the world.

Investigators also detected a growth in fraudulent investment schemes committed through instant messaging applications where encrypted information is exchanged promoting the use of cryptocurrency wallets for payment.

“A group of online criminals was identified in Austria and India posing as Interpol agents and persuading victims to transfer some USD 159,000 through financial institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges and online gift cards,” the statement detailed.

This shows that Interpol is fully engaged in the investigation of cryptocurrency-related cases. CryptoNews reported that the police force has been part of the anti-cryptocurrency money laundering task force for several years.

In addition to Interpol, the group is made up of the European Police Office (Europol) and the Basel Institute of Governance (IGB).

The main objective of this collaboration is to create a group of cryptocurrency experts to determine how cryptocurrencies can be used for money laundering.

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