The Security Service of Ukraine, known as the SBU, took offline a network of cryptocurrency exchanges that allowed criminals to launder money.
According to the SBU, over 1,000 customers used illicit exchanges to launder funds received via various Russian electronic payment processors.
“The clandestine cryptocurrency exchanges were in demand because they provided anonymity of transactions and possibility of money laundering,” the SBU said.
The amount of funds laundered through the exchanges was $11 million in a month. It’s a tiny portion of the total amount of assets that can be legally transacted through the top 10 cryptocurrency exchanges.
Admins of these exchanges got 5% to 10% interest on each transaction, which means they could make over $500,000 a month.
Law enforcers conducted searches in various districts of Kyiv on April 17 and seized:
- computers and servers with evidence of illegal activity;
- mobile devices with VPNs;
- incorporation documents of fake Ukrainian companies used by criminals for money laundering;
- $37,330 in cash.
Among the clients of the cryptocurrency exchanges network were organizers of mass anti-government protests that took place on the eve of the Independence Day of Ukraine. “They received money to pay for the services of provocateurs using this particular network,” the SBU said.
In a related news, the Security Service previously revealed that it shut down a massive crypto mining farm in Ukraine. Criminals allegedly stole electricity from a power distribution company located nearby, JSC Vinnytsiaoblenerho.
In total, they seized over 3,800 PlayStation 4 gaming consoles and various other devices. They also conducted searches for documents related to electricity consumption.
The theft of electricity from a crypto farm led to losses of around $260,000 a month.
The SBU is investigating the involvement of officials of JSC Vinnytsiaoblenerho in the illegal operation, which denied any involvement.
The SBU told the crypto mining farm was a bot farm that was designed to mine in-game currency and buy loot boxes for the FIFA Ultimate Team game.