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German and US police take down a crypto money laundering operation that washed €44M in dirty money

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

A major money-laundering scheme with a cryptocurrency mixer at its core was reportedly brought down by police today, according to reports from both sides of the Atlantic.

Via the "ChipMixer" platform, criminals are allegedly laundering 152 000 Bitcoins. A large portion of the "dirty money" was linked to darkweb markets, ransomware organizations, illegal goods trafficking, the procurement of child sexual exploitation, and stolen cryptocurrency assets.


Authorities in Germany and the US claimed to have taken down the "laundromat" platform's infrastructure and seized 7 TB of data and roughly 1909.4 Bitcoins in 55 transactions (or about €44.2 million).


According to Europol, ransomware perpetrators including Zeppelin, SunCrypt, Mamba, Dharma, or Lockbit used this service to launder ransom money.

Authorities were also looking into the possibility that ChipMixer was used to launder some of the cryptocurrency assets that were taken after a significant crypto exchange went bankrupt in 2022.


Also including Belgium, Poland, and Switzerland, the operation entailed the seizure of four servers. The cryptocurrency mixer ChipMixer, which is well-known in the world of cybercrime, was the target, according to the police.


The unlicensed cryptocurrency mixer ChipMixer, which was launched in the middle of 2017, specialized in mixing or cutting trails for virtual currency assets.


Because the ChipMixer software obscured the funds' blockchain trail, it became more appealing to cybercriminals attempting to launder the profits of criminal activities including drug and weapon trafficking, ransomware attacks, and payment card fraud.


Deposited funds would be converted into "chips" (little tokens of equal value), which were then combined, obscuring any traces of the original funds' source.


ChipMixer guaranteed complete anonymity to their customers and was a service that was accessible on both the open and dark web. This kind of service is frequently utilized before criminals route their laundered cryptocurrency assets to crypto exchanges, some of which also work for organized crime gangs.


Because of this, they continued, it was "attractive for cybercriminals looking to launder illegal proceeds from criminal activities" such as drug and weapon trafficking, ransomware attacks, and payment card fraud.


After the procedure, the "cleaned" cryptocurrency is easily exchangeable for other cryptocurrencies or for FIAT money via ATMs or bank accounts.


National authorities "took down the infrastructure of the platform for its alleged involvement in money laundering activities," according to a statement from Europol.

By fLEXI tEAM

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