Seizures of cryptoactives used by delinquents explode

criminals have an increasing appetite for cryptocurrencies, which promise fast and secure whitening solutions. Magistrates and investigators, often neophytes in the matter, are forced to put themselves on the page.

by Abel Mestre and Thomas Saintourens

The intrusion was done without weapons or violence. The loot, estimated at 16 million euros, included neither cash nor bank account. The seizure carried out by the cybergendarmes, on January 18, on the Bitzlato platform, highlighted the growing appetite of criminals for cryptocurrencies as much as the profits that such dismantling can provide public accounts. Founded by a Russian citizen, this cryptocurrency exchange purse promised its users fast and secure laundering solutions. Now preserved by the Management and Collection Agency for seized and confiscated assets (AGRASC), digital assets, once confiscation definitively pronounced by a court, will be liquidated and will abound the state budget.

In 2022, the cryptoactive seizures had already led 349 %. In total, just over 50 million euros. But this figure, arrested on February 22, is only indicative: it varies from day to day according to the fluctuations of these assets deemed to be very volatile. The year 2023 also started to the pace of several seizures per week, including balances from the “Bitzlato” affair, apprehended within the framework of the judicial information.

“For three years, cryptoactive seizures have exploded, underlines Clémence Olivier, the chef of the legal and financial department L’Agrasc. This trend follows the general evolution of the cryptos ecosystem, with a multiplication of types of assets Available and an increasing number of consumer users. These are therefore more and more envisaged options by offenders, who appreciate the anonymous operation of blockchain [Technology intended to guarantee the safety of transactions] – as a book of accounts without Names -, but also common users. “

” We play cat and mouse on the technique “

Magistrates and investigators, often neophytes in the matter, are forced to put themselves on the page. “The heritage reflex is now systematic among investigators, provides a police officer in charge of the fight against financial crime. By handling cryptoactives, criminals try to blur the tracks, in the same way as with the use of ready- Names or offshore companies. We are now playing cat and mouse on technique. “

Purely “cyber” offenses (online scams, use of ransomiciel, etc.) constitute the majority of cryptoactive seizures. Those from drug trafficking also have a place of choice: used for drugs of drugs, weapons or files, they bridge the cybercrime and organized crime. Finally, delinquency known as “white collar” – more classic economic and financial crimes – also uses blockchain technology to hide the product of offenses.

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/Media reports cited above.