US, European agencies seize €44m worth of BTC in crypto mixer raid
Authorities from across Europe and the US – including the FBI – have seized €44 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC) from a crypto mixer which they allege was involved in money laundering activities.
German, US, Belgian, Polish and Swiss authorities, with support and coordination from Europol, seized four servers belonging to ChipMixer, a cryptocurrency mixer Europol says is “well-known in the cybercriminal underworld”.
ChipMixer was used last year by the attacker who stole funds from failed crypto exchange FTX, TechCrunch reports.
Crypto mixers blend the cryptocurrencies of multiple users to obfuscate the origins and owners of the funds.
The law enforcement agencies seized seven terabytes worth of data, consisting of 1909.4 BTC across 55 transactions.
ChipMixer, established in 2017, turns deposited funds into “chips” (small tokens with equivalent value), which are then mixed together to obscure the origins of the funds.
The ‘cleaned’ crypto could then be exchanged into other cryptocurrencies or directly into fiat currency though ATMs or bank accounts.
The agencies allege the platform may have facilitated the laundering of 152,000 Bitcoins (worth around €2.73 billion), funds with connections to darkweb markets, ransomware groups, illicit goods trafficking, procurement of child sexual exploitation material, and stolen crypto assets.