In Spain, the criminals are money laundering for illegal activities using cryptocurrency. Operation Tulipan Blanca was conducted by the Spanish and Finnish authorities and Homeland Security Investigations of United States.
According to Europol, In this Operation, the authorities had to track down the criminals who laundered money made by selling drugs. The criminals used credit cards and cryptocurrencies to launder the money which they had made.
The Money Laundering.
The criminals based in Spain, take the money from drug traffickers and then divided the money into smaller amounts and deposit it in 100’s of bank accounts. This type of illegal way of money laundering is recognized as smurfing.
As the criminals then need to travel to Colombia and withdrawal the money from the accounts they just deposited the money. Now, this process was very risky as the money transferred and the back operations can be easily tracked. So they changed their money laundering plan to cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin was the cryptocurrency they used to launder the money to not being tracked easily. The criminals used a local cryptocurrency exchange to buy bitcoins and after the transfer then changed the cryptocurrency into Colombian pesos. But thanks to Finnish authorities the police officers got in contact with the local bitcoin exchange and they got all the information of the suspects which was given by the cryptocurrency exchange.
The Arrest of 11 People.
The Spanish Guardia Civil carried out searches and seized several computer accessories and equipment used to do the crime. 11 people were arrested and 137 are still being investigated. Also, the police found out that the criminals deposited 8 million using 174 bank accounts.
Europol has assisted the authorities during the investigation by helping them gain the information during the operation. As the criminals have been using cryptocurrencies for illegal activities nowadays. A great initiative conducted by Europol is training courses to help law officials to identify the use of cryptocurrencies by the criminals.
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