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US says drug gangs moving money via China crypto channels

While cryptocurrencies are involved in only a small fraction of the estimated $2 trillion trillion in laundered money every year, its share is rising. Now, the DEA has stated that Mexican drug cartels are increasingly using money laundering and cryptocurrency channels based in Asia to move and “clean” their money. “The shift toward Chinese and Asian money launderers is believed to be, in part, due to the natural relationship created by the large volume of both licit and illicit trade goods and chemicals imported from China. The use of an Asian money broker simplifies the money laundering process and streamlines the purchase of processor chemicals and paraphernalia utilized in manufacturing drugs for street sales,” said the deputy chief of operations of the Office of Global Enforcement within the DEA. In spite of these changes, “evidence of organized crime using crypto has been sparse. Cryptocurrencies are not replacing old ML methods. And cartels are not relying on them more than cash,” argues the director of analysis at the Center for Sanctions and Illicit Finance under the Defense of Democracies foundation. “Cryptocurrencies offer a new element into the mix for criminals to obfuscate money movements….Using crypto brings some advantages for criminals because of the digital, peer-to-peer nature of the technology, but it comes with transparency that deters how widely it could be used.”

Source: US says drug gangs moving money via China crypto channels – Asia Times

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