The European Union Police Department (Europol) and the US Department of Justice have ordered the shutdown of the ChipMixer transaction mixing service, confiscating the amount of $ 46 million in Bitcoin and charging the Vietnamese founder.
According to the latest announcement from Europol, ChipMixer has been confiscated by the US and German authorities for alleged involvement in money laundering activities. The agency has seized 4 servers, 7TB of data and about 1,909 BTC (equivalent to 46 million USD).
Belgian, Polish and Swiss authorities also assisted in the investigation.
🚨 International 👮 have taken down ChipMixer, a darkweb cryptocurrency mixer of choice for organized crime.
💰 As much as EUR 40 million seized by authorities in 🇩🇪 (@GStA_FFM_ZIT & @bka) and (@FBI & @USDOJ_Intl). 🇧🇪, 🇨🇭 and 🇵🇱 also supported.
— Europol (@Europol) March 15, 2023
ChipMixer was launched in 2017 with the aim of providing anonymity to traders. The tool allegedly cleared 152,000 BTC ($3.8 billion) of “dirty money” from darkweb markets, ransomware, illegal goods trafficking, child exploitation material, and large amounts of money. hacked encryption.
Ransomware such as Zeppelin, SunCrypt, Mamba, Dharma and Lockbit also use ChipMixer to remove traces of money.
Notably, the US Department of Justice also charged that the person behind ChipMixer is a Vietnamese citizen named Nguyen Minh Quoc, 49 years old, living in Hanoi. This person is accused of operating money laundering, identity theft and illegal currency transactions through ChipMixer.
Justice Department Investigation Leads to Takedown of Darknet Cryptocurrency Mixer that Processed Over $3 Billion of Unlawful Transactionshttps://t.co/rPzQh9fNTM
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) March 15, 2023
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Nguyen Minh Quoc.
Minh Quoc Nguyen has allegedly facilitated the laundering of approximately $3 billion USD worth of Bitcoin. He is wanted by the #FBI on charges of Money Laundering, Operating an Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business, and Identity Theft: https://t.co/U0W3yjH9yY pic.twitter.com/RgsQJoRfi6
— FBI Most Wanted (@FBIMostWanted) March 15, 2023
In August 2022, The US Treasury Department has sanctioned another popular money mixing tool, Tornado Cash, because it is believed that it has “abetted” the notorious North Korean criminal group – Lazarus Group – to launder a large amount of dirty money. The Tornado Cash development team was then targeted by the authorities, at that time developer Alexey Pertsev has been arrested by Dutch authorities together prison term until April 2023.
However, recently appeared the “successor” project of Tornado Cash Built by one of the original developers, called Privacy Pool, upgraded with features of “transparency” for traders to avoid government scrutiny.