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Ireland seized over €1m in cryptocurrency as a part of an investigation against national and international money laundering syndicates to combat terrorist financing.
Ireland’s national police, Garda Síochána, arrested 9 men and seized over €1 million in cryptocurrency or virtual assets by investigating money laundering offenses. The Waterford Division crime hub unites with Ireland’s national police and works together to investigate complex criminal-centerd organised worldwide unlawful activities involving identity theft, deception, and money laundering, as well as bulk transmission of smishing texts, fraudulent SMS, and WhatsApp messages. A garda spokesperson stated, “the criminal activity focuses on the criminal offense of smishing involving fraudulent SMS and WhatsApp messages claiming to be from national postal offices, delivery companies, financial institutions, etc.”
The spokesperson also claimed they seized €1.12 million in cryptocurrency and another €30,000 worth of physical assets also have been frozen, two vehicles, and an identified property in Dubai. The Garda Passenger Information Unit (GPIU), GNCCB, Europol, GNECB (Virtual Assets Investigation Unit and FIU Ireland), and officers from several Garda divisions around the nation collaborate with the Waterford Crime Office in coordinating the investigation. This collaboration has resulted in successful operations leading to the recovery of stolen crypto assets and the identification of suspects. The GPIU has provided vital intelligence for the investigation.
The investigative team is working with other police agencies to advance this inquiry abroad, using connections between Europol and the police in Irish embassies. The spokesperson stated, “the investigation to date has established that the criminal activity is operating in a number of countries in Europe, the UK, Dubai and South Africa.” Two males are reportedly accused of several offenses against the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010, Part 7 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, and the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offenses) Act 2001. Investigations into these claims are still ongoing, according to Gardai.