On Monday, February 17, 2020 the Dutch Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service (FIOD), arrested two men in connection with two criminal investigations on suspicion of money laundering using cryptocurrencies.
Both investigations were led by the National Office for Serious Fraud, Environmental Crime and Asset Confiscation. In the first investigation, a 45-year-old man from Noordwijk, Netherlands was arrested on suspicion of laundering approximately 2.1 million euros. The suspect made large purchases with a crypto credit card that could not be explained to the Netherlands Tax and Customs Administration based on his income and assets. He also made several large withdrawals with this card including 10,000 euros in cash. Several items were seized including three kilograms of gold, 260,000 euros in cryptocurrencies, debit and credit cards with both cryptocurrencies and euros, a car and luxury items such as watches and other jewellery.
In the second investigation, a 31-year-old man from the province of Groningen, Netherlands was arrested. Two suspects are expected to testify. It is suspected that the men laundered a considerable amount of money, including approximately 100,000 euros. To do so, they used the crypto service provider Bestmixer.io. Based on the Bitcoin address used, the investigative team was able to identify the IP-address. The Bestmixer service was likely used to conceal and launder income. As part of this law enforcement action, digital and physical business accounts were seized.
J5 and Bestmixer.io Leaders of tax enforcement authorities from Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States established the joint operational alliance known as the J5 in mid2018 to increase collaboration in the fight against international and transnational tax crime and money laundering. This partnership aims to strengthen international law-enforcement capability through data and information sharing. The J5 collaboration is producing results and the FIOD’s investigations are gaining momentum as a result.
In November 2019, the J5 countries organized a ‘crypto challenge’ in Los Angeles, California. During the challenge, the FIOD shared data which had been seized on May 22, 2019 during the investigation of the crypto service provider Bestmixer.io. Based on this data, it cannot be ruled out that more international investigations by the J5 countries will follow.