Australian Crypto Exchanges Shut Down in Connection to Crime Ring

Two Australian Bitcoin exchanges shut down following arrest of key executive

AUSTRAC suspends two crypto exchanges after arrest

The AFP continued its investigation into those responsible for allegedly importing border controlled drugs via global mail into Melbourne.

The federal police of Australia discovered these crime rings back in 2017 and arrested two Victorian men who were allegedly involved in the menace of the drug importation.

It remains unclear how this is going to affect the clients of these cryptocurrency exchanges. So far, he has been charged with importing and trafficking drugs.

The arrested man is a 27-year-old from the Melbourne suburb of Bulleen.

"The accused played a key role in directing the operations of the criminal syndicate, which used various darknet sites, bitcoin accounts and legitimate business for the sourcing, payment, and distribution of the illicit drugs", AFP said in its official statement. The man was charged with importing, possessing, and dealing roughly 30 kilograms of cocaine, ketamine, MDMA, methamphetamine, and other narcotics.

Meanwhile, the Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) approached the court to obtain a restraint order on the seized assets.

"Digital currency exchange providers have had adequate time and opportunity to comply with these new laws and AUSTRAC has already refused the registration of two digital currency exchange providers", he said.

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"Investigations such as this are inherently complex and the operational results achieved by the investigative team are a testament to good police work and strong interagency cooperation", said AFP Detective Superintendent Paul Hopkins. The case has been undertaken by Federal Police in association with AUSTRAC - eventually, with the court order, the police restrained the cryptocurrency, property, and cash more than AU$ 2M.

Following the arrest, Austrac said it suspended the registration of two digital currency exchange businesses where the man was a key member, removing their ability to continue to conduct business.

What do you think will happen to the assets of users that had accounts or held crypto at the two digital currency exchanges?

"According to the announcement, amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 that were enacted in April of 2018 require cryptocurrency exchanges to "[register] with AUSTRAC, [verify] customer identity, [report] suspicious matters and over-threshold cash transactions; and [comply] with record-keeping requirements".

The two exchanges that were shut down by AUSTRAC were identified as AUSCOIN ATM and MK Buy & Sell, which operates as SK BTC.

"Any information about illicit activity by digital currency exchange providers that is provided to our squad - whether related to organized crime, terrorism, or technology-enabled crime - will be actively pursued in partnership with AUSTRAC", Craft added.

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