US and German authorities seize $47.7m from crypto scheme

Europol and the US Department of Justice combined forces against ChipMixer over alleged obfuscation of illegal funds.

Authorities in Germany and the US have gone after ChipMixer, a cryptocurrency mixer, which has been tied to helping criminals obfuscate the source of their illegal earnings.

The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) confirmed the news and said that a total of four servers and seven terabytes of data were seized.

There were also 1909.4 Bitcoins (BTC) seized during the operation, worth approximately $47.7m.

Europol coordinated a cross-border operation in Switzerland, Belgium, and Poland. According to authorities, including the US Department of Justice (DOJ), ChipMixer processed digital assets for cyber criminals who were engaged in activities such as ransomware, schemes, and fraud.

An operator of ChipMixer, Minh Quoc Nguyen, was arrested in Philadelphia on Wednesday as well, the DOJ confirmed.

According to investors on both side of the Atlantic, the platform is tied to laundering at least 152,000 BTC worth around $3.8bn since 2017.

The mixer has been complicit with North Korean hackers and also money that was run by the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) to purchase malware.

Mixing services were once advertised as a way to be truly anonymous in the cryptocurrency space. They have mostly become an obstacle for authorities to track the trail that cyber criminals leave when they perpetrate crime.

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control went after Tornado Cash in 2022, alleging that the service had assisted North Korean hackers to obfuscate the origins of their funds. Meanwhile, the company’s web developer, Alexey Pertsev, was arrested.

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Written by Alex

Reporter

Alex is a well-rounded crypto writer who focuses on general market and legal developments. His main interest lies in how crypto gaming can become a more permanent part of the gaming landscape and how blockchain holds benefits to players they are not even aware of.

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