Binance linked to money laundering scheme in Belgian extradition case: Bloomberg

In an ongoing Belgian extradition case, Binance, a major cryptocurrency exchange, has been implicated in a money laundering scheme, as reported by Bloomberg. The case highlights the growing concerns surrounding crypto platforms and their potential involvement in illegal activities.

London-based Fintech Professional Accused of Money Laundering with Cryptocurrency

A London-based fintech professional, Caio Marchesani, is currently facing extradition to Belgium on charges of using cryptocurrency to launder hundreds of millions of dollars for criminal organizations, including high-ranking bosses.

According to a recent report by Bloomberg, Marchesani, who owns Trans-Fast Remittance, allegedly facilitated substantial crypto transactions for a notorious criminal gang. European prosecutors have described the scale of the money laundering operation as “rarely seen.” While the exact amount of laundered funds has not been disclosed, it is believed to be in the range of hundreds of millions of euros.

Belgian authorities claim that Marchesani knowingly and intentionally converted substantial cash sums into Bitcoin for Sergio Roberto De Carvalho and Flor Bressers, two prominent international crime lords.

A Three-Year Investigation

The investigation by Belgian authorities began three years ago when they traced significant cocaine shipments to De Carvalho and Bressers. Through encrypted communications, investigators identified Marchesani’s involvement in the scheme.

The alleged network reportedly combined blockchain technology with elements of hawala, an ancient system of informal trust-based money transfers that originated with Arab and Mediterranean traders in the Middle Ages. These systems operate outside of traditional financial systems. The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions were seen as a prime opportunity to use cryptocurrency to move funds as physical cash became more difficult and expensive to transport.

To circumvent these challenges, Marchesani allegedly used at least 14 Binance accounts and charged high transfer rates of up to 9%.

In June, Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) ordered Binance, a leading cryptocurrency exchange, to cease all services in the country due to violations of local and European Economic Area laws. The regulator also demanded the immediate return or transfer of all cryptographic keys and virtual currencies held for Belgian clients.

While Binance has provided practical operational assistance regarding the investigation, the exchange has not yet responded to requests for comment.

There has been speculation about potential criminal charges against Binance. The U.S. Department of Justice is reportedly considering criminal charges against the exchange and its executives. Furthermore, a sealed motion from the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) in its civil case against Binance has led to speculation that the records may contain evidence of criminal wrongdoing. However, as of now, Binance has not faced any criminal charges.

In Conclusion

Caio Marchesani, a London-based fintech professional, is facing extradition to Belgium on charges of money laundering through cryptocurrency. Belgian authorities have accused Marchesani of knowingly converting large sums of cash into Bitcoin for prominent international crime lords. The investigation into this case has lasted for three years, tracing significant cocaine shipments and uncovering the use of blockchain technology combined with hawala-like systems. Furthermore, Binance, the cryptocurrency exchange, has been ordered to halt all its services in Belgium due to regulatory violations. Speculation about potential criminal charges against Binance is also ongoing, with the U.S. Department of Justice reportedly weighing its options.

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial or legal advice. The information provided in this article is accurate at the time of writing, but it may have changed since then. It is always recommended to consult with professionals in the field for guidance and assistance.

Source: “Binance linked to money laundering scheme in Belgian extradition case: Bloomberg” – CryptoSlate

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