Dutch investigators said Wednesday they have busted one of the biggest online money laundering services for cryptocurrencies worth hundreds of millions of euros a year.
Tax and federal prosecution officers have confiscated six servers in the Netherlands and Luxembourg, taking the Bestmixer.io virtual currency mixing service offline, the Dutch tax office’s criminal branch (FIOD) said.
Bestmixer.io is one of the three largest online mixing services dealing in bitcoins, bitcoin cash, and Litecoins, the FIOD said. It was started a year ago and has so far generated sales of at least 200 million dollars (25,000 Bitcoin).
So-called “crypto-mixing services” are used by criminals on the Darknet to mask the origin of virtual currency,” the FOID said in a statement. Services like Bestmixer.io are paid to “launder” online currency such as Bitcoins for a commission, erasing traces of the money’s origin, it said.
“People use the mixing service apparently to increase their anonymity. Our investigations show that much of the currency has a criminal origin or destination,” said FIOD.
“This mixer is suspected of being used in these cases to mask criminal money streams and to launder money,” it added. In total, Darknet markets generate some 800 million dollars yearly.
Bestmixer.io’s clients are from all over the world “with the emphasis on the United States, Germany, and the Netherlands,” said FIOD. The probe was launched following a report by the US-based cyber security firm McAfee. So far, no arrests have been made, FIOD spokesman Adriaan Ros told AFP.