MONEY LAUNDERING AND CRYPTOCURRENCY
Money laundering has been an issue for quite some time and even with advancement in technology over recent years such as the introduction of cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, money laundering still continues to be a prevalent issue every year, with 2018 already seeing some significant events.
Even though Bitcoin has become legal tender in Japan, financial crimes involving the cryptocurrency still occur, with as many as 660 cases dating back to 2017 reported by cryptocurrency exchanges. It is unclear if money laundering was involved in all of the reports, however, the reports do show that Japan is working to bring more validity to cryptocurrencies.
In the future, the US government is planning to address Bitcoin users who trade large sums of Bitcoin for fiat currencies, similar to the case of Thomas Mario Costanzo who was accused of running a peer to peer Bitcoin exchange without a license. Costanzo also admitted to laundering illicit funds from drug dealers and purchasing drugs from the dark web using cryptocurrency.
Earlier this year, Europol was able to take down a drug trafficking ring that laundered $8 million through a Finnish exchange using 200 different bank accounts. While it is unclear whether the Finnish exchange was involved in the scheme itself or not, Europol has taken the example and has started to tighten controls on cryptocurrencies even if most Europeans do not use it.