International Operation Takes Down Crypto Mixer Chipmixer — Creator Could Face 40 Years in Prison
An international operation has taken down Chipmixer, a cryptocurrency mixing service that allegedly laundered more than $3 billion worth of cryptocurrency, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The operation involved national authorities in the U.S., Germany, Belgium, Poland, and Switzerland — with Europol’s support.
International Operation Takes Down Chipmixer
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Wednesday “a coordinated international takedown of Chipmixer,” which it described as “a darknet cryptocurrency ‘mixing’ service responsible for laundering more than $3 billion worth of cryptocurrency.” Europol, which provided support for the operation to take down the mixing service, independently announced:
National authorities took down the infrastructure of the platform for its alleged involvement in money laundering activities and seized four servers, about 1909.4 bitcoins in 55 transactions (approx. EUR 44.2 million) and 7 TB of data.
U.S. federal law enforcement seized two domains that directed users to the Chipmixer service and one Github account while the German Federal Criminal Police (the Bundeskriminalamt) seized the Chipmixer back-end servers and more than $46 million in cryptocurrency, the DOJ detailed.
Chipmixer allowed its users to make bitcoin (BTC) deposits which it “then mixed with other Chipmixer users’ bitcoin, commingling the funds in a way that made it difficult for law enforcement or regulators to trace the transactions,” the Justice Department explained.
“It primarily operated as a Tor hidden service to conceal the location of its servers and prevent seizure by law enforcement,” the DOJ noted, adding that while it has many U.S. users, the service did not register with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and did not collect identifying information about its customers.
The Department of Justice added that beginning in and around August 2017, Minh Quốc Nguyễn, 49, of Hanoi, Vietnam, “created and operated the online infrastructure used by Chipmixer and promoted Chipmixer’s services online,” elaborating:
Nguyễn is charged with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, money laundering and identity theft. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.
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