A British man has been arrested on money laundering charges in Holland. He is alleged to have been running a “money cleaning” service for clients trading on the dark web between the years 2014 and 2016. The Dutch Public Prosecutor demanded on Wednesday that he serves at least five years in prison.
Funds Likely Came From Illicit Sources
According to NL Times, the laundered money is thought to have come from various dark web dealings in illicit goods. The man accused is a 38-year-old British man living in Amsterdam. It’s alleged that he was responsible for “cleaning” over 11.5 million euros during the years he was active. It’s thought that he received Bitcoin from dealers of narcotics and other contraband items and sold them using his own bank account. He then withdrew the funds in local currency and returned them, minus a cut for himself, to the original party.
The Public Prosecutor alleges that the man took an “unusually high” percentage of the funds. It’s thought that he charged between five and eight percent for carrying some of the burdens of risk for his clients. The accused and his spouse were living predominantly off their ill-gotten gains. The Prosecutor added that neither of them earns much in the way of legal income.
Along with the charges of money laundering, the suspect is also thought to have been previously cultivating cannabis illegally. Photos on his computer of large cannabis plantations at his previous home support this. The Prosecutor stated:
“He thought he had seen a gap in the market and jumped into it… He started with a cannabis plantation, sold the harvest on the dark web and was paid in bitcoins. Soon he noticed that he no longer needed the weed to make a substantial turnover and a fine profit.”
The man accused is adamant that all those he dealt with over the years 2014-16 were law-abiding citizens. He refutes the allegation that they were involved in any illicit trade. It’s thought that the court will rule on the matter in early March.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have long been associated with money laundering. However, just because something illegal is possible using a certain tool doesn’t mean the tool ought to be forever tarred with that brush. It’s possible to murder someone with a lump hammer. Are all lump hammers associated with murder? No, of course they’re not.
Critics of Bitcoin love to play the money laundering card whenever they can. The fact is there are plenty more examples of money laundering that takes place using other forms of currency. Recently, US Bankcorp were forced to pay a hefty fine for the very same crime. Also, one of Bitcoin’s fiercest naysayers, Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase, has repeatedly stated that crypto is only good for criminal use. This includes money laundering. Just weeks after making his famous “fraud” remarks JP Morgan themselves were charged with money laundering. Evidently, current money laundering laws are failing and it’s a cop-out to blame an innovative form of currency for their shortcomings.