Brazil seizes $33 million in cryptocurrency money laundering investigation

As a result of an investigation into a suspected money laundering operation, civilian police seized 172 million Brazilian reals (R$) (equivalent to $33 million).

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According to an official statement

, Brazilian authorities conducted a total of six search warrants on July 22. They conducted investigations in Diadema and São Paulo. Following these, the courts authorized the police to seize the assets of two individuals and a total of 17 companies. A Brazilian court has since ordered the accounts of both defendants to be blocked.

Investigations revealed that the defendants created a series of fictitious companies to gain access to the banking system. Cryptocurrency exchanges sold large amounts of Bitcoin

(BTC) to these companies. Specifically, over a five-month period, one exchange traded BTC worth 10 million reals (about $1.92 million) to six of these bogus companies. Meanwhile, another eight bogus companies obtained another 15 million reals (about $2.88 million) in BTC during the same period. Sponsored Sponsored The

investigation revealed that the defendants sent money to companies located overseas. These offshore companies then repatriated the funds in the form of sales and services.

According to the police statement, the exchanges did not conduct verification activities as to the legitimacy of their clients. Nor did they investigate the origin of their clients’ transactions. In addition, the statement alludes to the almost exclusive links of these exchanges to criminal organizations, shell companies and the black market.

Brazilian exchange embraces Ethereum

Brazil has also been the site of recent, more legal cryptocurrency transactions. Namely, recently, an Ethereum ETF that was approved for listing on B3, the country’s second largest exchange. According to reports

, this development makes B3 the first exchange in Latin America to have a 100% ETF composed solely of Ethereum (ETH). Reports also indicate that the Winklevoss brothers-owned Gemini exchange will provide custodial services for the fund.

QR Capital, a Rio de Janeiro-based cryptocurrency investment firm, will list the fund under the ticker QETH11. Brazil’s securities regulator, Comissão de Valores Mobiliários (CVM), gave the green light for a Bitcoin

(BTC) ETF back in March. It was reportedly the first such ETF listed in South America.

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