New EU laws to target gangs like the Kinahan cartel using cryptocurrencies to hide assets

Thousands of cryptocurrency specialists and law enforcement financial investigators gathered for the two-day event in The Hague hosted by the EU police force.

Speakers at the 6th Global Conference on Criminal Finances and Cryptocurrencies told how it expands to virtually every country, committing new forms of crime and laundering money.

The Kinahan cartel has been reported to have converted some of its assets into cryptocurrencies in an effort to avoid being tracked by law officials.

A Europol spokesperson said the new laws, which are expected to come into effect, will target criminal gangs that use cryptocurrencies to hide assets.

“Professional money launderers are taking advantage of the ever-growing options provided by crypto assets – from mining to decentralized services – to launder the proceeds of physical and cyber crimes.

“But law enforcement, regulators and the private sector are working hard to keep up with those who abuse crypto assets to commit crimes and launder money.

“Legislation is shrinking. New EU regulations, for example, will ensure that cryptocurrencies are treated like any other asset for the purposes of anti-money laundering regulation and supervision. “

In June, we revealed how a major US counterterrorism group claimed the Kinahan cartel would likely start using cryptocurrency to shift its illicit profits out of Dubai.

And a group of US-based security experts said Irish Mafia leaders would likely try to convert their assets into cryptocurrency to avoid detection by law enforcement.

The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) also warns that sanctions alone are unlikely to stop the Kinahan cartel and that the United States will have to extradite the leaders of the group to end Mafia activities.

They write: “[The] Sanctions are very unlikely to disrupt the KOCG’s criminal operations or affect its ability to generate funds due to its global illicit activities.

“The KOCG most likely exploits the UAE’s weak anti-money laundering controls to hide the origins of its illicit finances, possibly generating additional funds for its criminal empire.

“Without extradition from the UAE, law enforcement is very unlikely to be able to prevent Christopher Kinahan Senior or his children from conducting their international operations.”

In April, the US government sanctioned the leaders of the Kinahan Organized Crime Group (KOCG) who had been operating openly for years in the Gulf State.

After the sanctions were announced, Dubai officials also froze the cartel leader’s bank accounts.

The Sunday World previously revealed how Christy Snr and her two sons, Daniel and Christopher Jnr, were rumored to be struggling to get their assets from the Emirati state.

And a group of US-based security experts said Irish Mafia leaders would likely try to convert their assets into cryptocurrency to avoid detection by law enforcement.

The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) also warns that sanctions alone are unlikely to stop the Kinahan cartel and that the United States will have to extradite the leaders of the group to end Mafia activities.

They write: “[The] Sanctions are very unlikely to disrupt the KOCG’s criminal operations or affect its ability to generate funds due to its global illicit activities.

“The KOCG most likely exploits the UAE’s weak anti-money laundering controls to hide the origins of its illicit finances, possibly generating additional funds for its criminal empire.

“Without extradition from the UAE, law enforcement is very unlikely to be able to prevent Christopher Kinahan Senior or his children from conducting their international operations.”

The Counterterrorism Group describes itself as a global organization “focused on the detection, deterrence and defeat of terrorism and other threats”.

They also say that increased collaboration between international authorities will have encouraged the gang to use cryptocurrency.

“Law enforcement will almost certainly not be able to detect illicit financial flows through the cryptocurrency market due to the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency,” the report reads.

In the report by the group’s Illicit Finance and Economic Threats team, the group also noted that Dubai authorities are unlikely to be able to stop the gang from running their transnational criminal organization.

In The Hague, the conference heard how professional money launderers are exploiting the ever-growing options provided by crypto assets – from mining to decentralized services – to launder the proceeds of physical and cyber crime.

But law enforcement, regulators and the private sector are working hard to keep up with those who abuse crypto assets to commit crimes and launder money.

Legislation is being strengthened with new EU regulations established to ensure that crypto assets are treated like any other asset for the purposes of anti-money laundering regulation and supervision.

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