A couple from Hilversum, the Netherlands, have been convicted of money laundering after using bitcoins on dark web services.
Rotterdam District Court ordered the couple to return 2,532 BTC and 250,000 euros
According to court documents, convicts exchanged cash for BTC from anonymous customers at busy fast food outlets.
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The Rotterdam District Court in the Netherlands seized 2,532 bitcoins (approximately $ 29 million) from a couple guilty of money laundering on dark web platforms.
According to a court statement , the man and his wife, from the town of Hilversum in North Holland, were also sentenced to two and two and a half years in prison respectively for money laundering.
The Dutch prosecution successfully prosecuted the couple for laundering more than 16 million euros ($ 18.9 million) in two and a half years, after establishing that the source of the large sum of bitcoin in their possession came from illegal transactions on the dark web.
Details of the case
According to the court statement, two separate sums of 1,488 BTC and 1,044 BTC were seized from the suspects, as well as € 250,000 in cash. In addition, the two suspects were individually fined € 45,000 and were forced to return € 138,000 and $ 40,000.
The court ruled that the couple bought bitcoin to exchange large amounts of euros for cash from individuals and businesses. These transactions were not disclosed to the Dutch authorities and were carried out using methods to maintain the anonymity of customers.
It was explained by the court that the exchanges usually take place at a fast food restaurant in a big city, without any due diligence or know-your-customer protocol. This method is generally advantageous for dark web criminals looking to trade their fiat currencies for currencies without going through the usual checks of crypto-fiat currency exchange platforms.
“Des traces du dark web”
The court ruled that the BTCs acquired bore the mark of dark web activity. The use of bitcoins on the dark web has been linked to criminal activities like child pornography and sponsored murder, and authorities often target these underground markets.
In an excerpt from the court documents, we can read:
Traders did not ask their customers for identity papers, while large amounts were often exchanged. The suspects, a man and his wife, came into contact with customers through internet advertisements and a dark web place of commerce. Much of the bitcoins traded bore traces of the dark web. The court ruled that the suspects laundered more than 16 million euros in two and a half years.