Israeli police have arrested three suspects suspected of being involved in money laundering worth millions of euros through crypto transactions. The funds come from a French government grant for companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Money laundering using crypto
news channel Times of Israel reported that the detention operation followed a closed investigation by Lahav 433, Israel’s special anti-crime unit.
According to the news channel, authorities believe the suspects used various crypto assets to launder millions of dollars and received payments after returning the laundered funds to a French client.
As part of the disclosure of the money laundering scheme, a number of other suspects were also questioned.
In addition to Lahav 433, the Yahalom investigative unit of Israel’s General Directorate of Taxation and Cybercrime and the International Division of the Attorney General’s Office are also involved in the investigation of this case.
The Israeli police cooperate with the French police and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol).
News.Bitcoin.com reported that the Israeli side started investigating the case in early 2022, but the French side has been investigating this case since last year.
The suspects exploited a loophole in the government’s program, where the program aims to support citizens negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 when the European economy is affected isolation.
French criminals set up shell companies and successfully applied for compensation from the government.
The French government wants to quickly deploy aid funds to support companies in financial trouble, so there is a lack of oversight over these funds.
A criminal group French he then used the money laundering services of Israeli suspects who purchased crypto assets using grant funds.
Purchased crypto-currencies are exchanged for various other crypto-assets to obscure the original trail of the source of the funds before they are paid back into cash fiat.
The police did not give a complete explanation of the money laundering method.
At the beginning of last August, the chief director of the tax office Israel implemented a provision limiting cash transactions to 6,000 shekels equivalent to 1,700 US dollars for businesses, down from the previous limit of 11,000 shekels or 3,200 US dollars.
The cash transaction limit for individuals is set at 15,000 shekels, which is equivalent to 4,400 US dollars. This rule was put in place to reduce the liquidity of cash in the market as criminal organizations rely on cash. Limiting cash makes criminal offenses more difficult. [ed]