Virtual currencies increasingly feeding TBML operations says DEA

Drug traffickers and money launderers are increasingly incorporating virtual currency into trade-based money laundering (TBML) activity as the use of these currencies becomes more widely adopted according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The administration’s recently published National Drug Threat Assessment 2020 says reporting has revealed instances in which bulk currency contracts were fulfilled through the use of virtual currency instead of cash.

TBML integration

Once these contracts are fulfilled, this money subsequently becomes integrated into the TBML cycle.

These combinations of virtual currency with already established forms of money laundering such as TBML suggest an increased willingness by illicit actors to utilise this complex technology to further their money laundering activities according to the DEA report.

Virtual currency ATMs

One way in which virtual currencies find their way into TBML operations is via virtual currency automated teller machines (ATMs), which drug traffickers relied on increasingly during 2020 according to the report.

It says that last year these ATMs served criminals to make cross-border transfers, avoiding them having to physically transport the money.

The DEA’s National Drug Threat Assessment 2020 can be found here.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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