An international operation brought down cryptocurrency mixing service Chipmixer, which is alleged to have laundered more than $3 billion worth of cryptocurrency, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The operation involved authorities from the United States, Germany, Belgium, Poland, and Switzerland, with support from Europol.
International Operation to Defeat Chipmixer
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday announced an internationally coordinated crackdown on Chipmixer, which it described as a “darknet cryptocurrency ‘mixing’ service responsible for laundering over $3 billion worth of cryptocurrency.” Europol, which provided support for the crackdown operation on mixing services, independently announced the following:
National authorities took down the platform’s infrastructure suspected of involvement in money laundering activities, seizing four servers, 55 transactions for approximately 1909.4 bitcoins (approximately €44.2 million) and 7 TB of data.
U.S. federal law enforcement seized two domains and one Github account directing users to the Chipmixer service, and the German Federal Criminal Police (Bundeskriminalamt) seized Chipmixer’s back-end servers and $46 million or more in cryptocurrency was seized, the Justice Department detailed.
Chipmixer allowed users to deposit Bitcoins (BTC), which it “then mixed with the Bitcoins of other Chipmixer users, commingling the funds in a way that made it difficult for law enforcement and regulators to trace the transactions,” the DOJ explained.
“It operated primarily as a Tor hidden service to conceal the location of its servers and prevent seizures by law enforcement,” the DOJ noted, noting that although it has many U.S. users, the service does not register with the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and does not collect customer identification It added that it does not collect information.
The DOJ elaborated that beginning in or about August 2017, Minh Quốc Nguyễn, 49, of Hanoi, Vietnam, “created and operated the online infrastructure used by Chipmixer and promoted Chipmixer’s services online.
Nguyễn is charged with operating an unauthorized money transfer business, money laundering and identity theft. If convicted, the maximum penalty is 40 years in prison.
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