US prosecutors have submitted an indictment against the operators of digital currency exchange Liberty Reserve, accusing the Costa Rica-based company of helping crooks around the world launder more than $6bn.
The money came from dubious funds linked to everything from child ponography to software for hacking into banking institutions.
The indictment unsealed on Tuesday stated Liberty Reserve had more than a million users globally, such as at least 200,000 in the US, as well as virtually all of its business was associated to suspected criminal activity.
Preet Bharara, a US lawyer, called the case possibly ‘the biggest international money-laundering case ever brought by the United States’.
‘Liberty Reserve has surfaced as one of the principal means by which cyber-criminals all over the world distribute, store as well as launder the earnings of their unlawful activity,’ in accordance to the indictment filed in US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Officials stated authorities in Spain, Costa Rica as well as New York arrested 5 individuals on Friday, such as the company’s founder, Arthur Budovsky, as well as seized bank accounts as well as Internet domains associated with Liberty Reserve.
The indictment detailed a system of payments that allowed users to open accounts under false names with blatant monikers like “Russia Hackers” and “Hacker Account”.
The use of digital currency has extended over the past 10 years, attracting customers ranging from video gamers looking for ways to buy as well as sell virtual goods to those who lack faith in the traditional banking system.
Promoted by some investors as the future of money, these virtual currencies have acquired the attention of US regulators looking to bring them under anti-money laundering rules.
The US treasury stated on Tuesday it called Liberty Reserve under the USA Patriot Act as ‘ particularly designed as well as frequently used to help money laundering in cyber space’.
Compiled by Nigerian News Papers Online