Ukraine Announces the Closure of Illegal Cryptocurrency Platforms

The SBU has identified and banned clandestine digital asset platforms used in money laundering and other illegal activities.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has shut down numerous illegal digital asset exchanges in the capital Kyiv that charged transaction fees of between 5% and 10%. Interestingly, some of these venues’ customers were organizers of large demonstrations who allegedly utilized the network to finance provocative actions on Ukraine’s Independence Day. The SBU said that it has shut down illegal bitcoin trading platforms in Kyiv. Their network earned between 5% and 10% interest on each digital asset sale, yielding a monthly revenue of up to $1.1 million.

The sites together served approximately 1,000 customers, including criminals, money launderers, internet fraudsters, and even organizers of major demonstrations. Additionally, the inquiry revealed that some of the provocateurs funded aggressive actions using money raised at Ukraine’s Independence Day venues.

The SBU stated that the aforementioned exchanges, which began operations in January 2021, ensured transaction anonymity. This is why a large number of people choose them for illegal purposes. Local police raided the offices as part of the inquiry and confiscated laptops, mobile phones, papers, and foreign money. While the exact nature of the penalty is unknown, the indictments have been filed with the court, which will oversee the proceedings.

According to reports, the prosecution will consider all evidence in determining who was involved in the unlawful activities. Since the beginning of 2021, the SBU’s Main Directorate, which was in charge of the investigation, had already apprehended three organizers of similar schemes.

Mexico Has a Comparable Situation

Mexico, like Ukraine, discovered numerous illicit bitcoin exchanges on the municipal level. As CryptoPotato revealed a few weeks ago, the Latin American country’s authorities acquired information on 12 platforms conducting illegal activities in the Jalisco area. Nieto Castillo, director of Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), promised that the police will work to resolve this matter:

“There are 12 platforms that are not registered, and that we know are operating illegally at this time… We are generating cases so that the Attorney General’s Office can operate in this regard.”

Castillo said that the aforementioned trades may be connected to criminals who use virtual assets for money laundering purposes. Additionally, he did not rule out the potential that the site had ties to the Jalisco Nueva Generación drug cartel: “A critical topic will be the examination of cryptocurrencies and their association with criminal organizations. I am impressed by the fact that many cryptocurrency platforms have been established in towns across the state of Jalisco.”

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