In a statement released by Europol on the 22nd May, it has been revealed that the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) has seized the website of a cryptocurrency transaction mixer Bestmixer.io under the jurisdiction of the Dutch Prosecutors office.
In the press release, Europol stated this as the “first law enforcement action of its kind against such a cryptocurrency mixer service” and was concluded following an extensive investigation that began in June 2018. As part of the seizure, the Police took control of 6 servers from Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Before its closure, Bestmixer offered a coin mixer or ‘tumbler’ service which works mixing ‘potentially identifiable or ‘tainted’ cryptocurrency funds with others, so as to obscure the trail back to the fund’s original source.’ Funds used include Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC). Individuals who use this service generally pay a fee along with the funds the transfer and then receive funds back to a completely new address.
From the investigation (that appears to be ongoing) it has been stated that the service was used to facilitate the laundering of money and the funds had either a criminal origin or destination. The company which started in 2018 ‘achieved a turnover of at least $200 million (approx. 27,000 bitcoins) in a year’s time and guaranteed that the customers would remain anonymous’.
As the case continues, Europol have informed the public that
The Dutch FIOD has gathered information on all the interactions on this platform in the past year. This includes IP-addresses, transaction details, bitcoin addresses and chat messages. This information will now be analysed by the FIOD in cooperation with Europol and intelligence packages will be shared with other countries.
The recent news demonstrates that although decentralized, crypto assets and firms who work with them are not outside the bounds of criminal justice