Brazilian gang caught laundering illicit gold using crypto

Brazil’s military police foiled an illicit gold mining organisation that reportedly utilised crypto tokens to launder its riches with the assistance of healthcare firms.

In an operation codenamed Greed, 211 policemen performed 60 raids and detained five persons in So Paulo on Thursday.

“Billions of dollars were moved by the criminal organisation, with millionaire inputs and withdrawals in cash, shell corporations, and bank transfers,” officials informed local news agencies.

Several gold mining enterprises situated in the northern area of Rondonia, according to police, were held by apparent shell corporations that were owned by healthcare companies. According to police, these gold mining companies utilised fraudulent environmental licences while digging for gold. They reportedly utilised cryptocurrencies to “justify the sums resulting from the unlawful extraction of gold… as though they were investments of other parties seeking profits.”

The gold scam came to the attention of the authorities after a preceding probe uncovered narcotics trafficking aboard flights. The event involving air trafficking was then connected to a Porto Velho accusation involving money laundering in the health sector.

Authorities claim that Brazilian healthcare businesses have been laundering gold for cryptocurrencies for over a decade. Across 2019 and 2021, it is anticipated that 16 billion reais, or $3 billion, was transferred between gang bank accounts.

In 2019, police connected to drug trafficking and illicit gold mining seized 110 kg of gold. The federal police determined that “illicit cash pumped into [health] enterprises in the capital of Rondonia at least since 2012 originated from unlawful mining methods by the criminal organization’s executives.”

In May of this year, revised anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism legislation for the health business were implemented.

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