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Taiwan Arrests Suspect in $320 Million Cryptocurrency Money Laundering Scheme

Taiwanese authorities have apprehended an individual, known as "Qui," suspected of orchestrating a substantial money laundering scheme in the country. The operation, which came to light following Qui's frequent gambling trips abroad, was unveiled by Taiwan's Criminal Bureau's Electronic Investigation Team (EIT). It involved a complex network of illegal financial transactions spanning Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, the Philippines, and Hong Kong, with an astonishing $320 million in Tether (USDT) cryptocurrency at its core.

Taiwan Arrests Suspect in $320 Million Cryptocurrency Money Laundering Scheme

Qui, who appeared to be a legitimate merchant, allegedly operated a vast criminal enterprise behind the scenes, imposing a 1% commission on each money laundering transaction. The estimated proceeds from this commission structure alone were a significant $3.2 million, though authorities suspect the actual figure could be higher.

Since February 2022, substantial evidence has linked Qui to the transfer of $320 million worth of Tether cryptocurrency through wallets under his control. Tether's value is pegged to the U.S. dollar, making each coin roughly equivalent to $1, with minor fluctuations.

To obscure the origin of the illicit funds and facilitate subsequent transactions, Qui employed a network of counterfeit accounts. Funds were systematically converted into various cryptocurrencies during the process.

Gambling Licenses

The investigation began when EIT officials turned their attention to Taishin Securities, a Taiwanese financial products firm, following the discovery of pirated software associated with the company. The trail ultimately led to Qui, as investigators uncovered suspicious overseas trips and engagements, including visits to undisclosed legal and illegal casinos, suggesting possible connections with individuals linked to criminal activities.

Qui was apprehended on June 13 upon his return to Taiwan through Taoyuan Airport. During the investigation, authorities seized Qui's cellphone, which reportedly contains comprehensive records of his criminal activities. Additionally, a Lamborghini Urus SUV, a Lexus LM minivan, three Apple Watches, CNY210,000 (US$28,686) in cash, multiple computers, debit cards, and various illicit substances were confiscated.

Several individuals connected to the money laundering operation have also been arrested. They could potentially face prison sentences of up to seven years and fines as high as TWD1 million (US$30,770) under Taiwan's Money Laundering Control Act. Their court appearance is pending.



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