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Police Seize $1.5 Million in Crypto During FIFA Gambling Crackdown

Local police officials in China seized more than $1.5 million worth of cryptocurrencies as part of a crackdown on gambling during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Chinese state-run media outlet Xinhua reported on July 11 that authorities first noticed the unnamed gambling platform in May following advertisements that claimed it would “accept international recognized cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ether and litecoin” in order to draw in users. An investigation was launched soon after, according to the outlet.

The special investigation team discovered that the site, based overseas, utilized a traditional online gambling model coupled with cryptocurrency payments. Xinhua cited “regulatory loopholes” by which the site was able to secure profits by hiding proceeds using those currencies.

All told, over the course of eight months, some 333,000 users used the site, which reportedly saw an estimated transaction volume of at least $1.5 billion.

Now, authorities have arrested six organizers of the site and confiscated $1.5 million worth of cryptocurrencies as well as $750,000 in renminbi deposits from their bank accounts.

A spokesperson from the police department in Guangdong province said that the task force will continue working to”maintain a highly concentrated attention” on cracking down online soccer gambling and advised soccer fans to watch the games “rationally and consciously.”

World Cup Image via Shutterstock

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International Task Force Notes Use of Cryptocurrencies in Financial Crime

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced Monday that a new joint force of tax enforcement authorities will combat international and transnational tax crimes – including cybercrimes facilitated through cryptocurrencies.

Tax enforcement agencies from the U.K., Australia, Canada and the Netherlands will join the IRS in forming the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) to prosecute tax crimes, according to a press release. The organization was formed in response to “a call to action” by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to “do more” on the crackdown on tax crimes.

The entity has already met, with cryptocurrencies coming up as an area of concern in financial crimes.

In a statement, Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service general director Hans van der Vlist said:

“The unique thing about the J5 is the operational collaboration between five countries on tackling professional enablers that facilitate offshore tax crime, cybercrime and the threat of cryptocurrencies to tax administrations, as well as making best use of internationally available data and technology.”

Johanne Charbonneau, general director of the Canada Revenue Agency, also said that J5 is building a “serious commitment” in an international cooperation that will fight against serious international tax crimes, including cybercrimes through “the use of cryptocurrencies.”

No details are disclosed regarding how J5 will work together to end the threats received from cryptocurrency-related tax crimes, but an update on its initiatives is expected in late 2018, according to the news release.

Internal Revenue Service image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.