Electrum Bitcoin wallet scam suspect arrested in Netherlands

Dutch police arrest a 39-year old man suspected of laundering millions of euros in crypto

A Dutch policeman faces away from view watching a crowd                                 
Suspect accused of laundering bitcoin through monero – Photo: Shutterstock

Dutch police have arrested a 39-year old man on suspicion of laundering funds stolen by using malicious software that presented itself as the cryptocurrency wallet service Electrum.

Man arrested on suspicion of laundering money

The unnamed man from the town of Veenendaal, near Arnhem, was arrested “on suspicion of laundering criminal money via cryptocurrencies worth tens of millions of euros”.

The police said that they had tracked down the individual by tracing stolen bitcoins from “a rogue software update of the Electrum wallet”. 

The individual in question had allegedly converted bitcoin to monero, a privacy-themed cryptocurrency, and then back again using the decentralised exchange Bisq. Although no precise figure was given, the authorities admitted that “the man probably earned a lot of money by money laundering”.

They added: “His home was searched when he was arrested. Various data carriers were seized during this process. The police investigation continues, including into the digital means of payment that the man possesses and the data carriers.”

Authorities observe global rise in cryptocurrency-related crime

In recent weeks, multiple authorities and regulators around the world have highlighted a marked increase in cryptocurrency–related cybercrime and frauds. 

Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission revealed that Australians have lost AUD242m ($166m) to cryptocurrency and investment scams in 2022 so far. 

In the United Kingdom, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) revealed that over half of the investment fraud complaints it analysed in the first quarter of the year involved cryptocurrencies. 

The European Union has stepped up its efforts to tackle cryptocurrency money laundering. In June, the EU agreed on anti-money laundering rules for crypto transactions. The new regulations look to improve the detection of suspicious transactions and to end regulatory loopholes abused by cyber criminals. 

“The new regulation will contain directly applicable rules, including in the areas of customer due diligence and beneficial ownership. It also includes the setting up of an EU-wide limit of €10,000 to large cash payments,” said the European Commission. 

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