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US, German Shut Down ChipMixer Tied to $3 Billion in Crypto laundering

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U.S. and German authorities announced Wednesday that they have shuttered ChipMixer, a cryptocurrency service that allegedly laundered more than US$3 billion in crypto since 2017.

See related stories: US$4B in money laundering happened on DEXs, bridges and coin swaps: Elliptic

Fast facts

  • ChipMixer has been used to launder more than US$3 billion in illicit transactions by ransomware groups, suspected North Korean hackers, and darknet market users since 2017, said the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
  • Authorities from Germany and the U.S. have seized up to US$46.3 million in crypto from ChipMixer, according to the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol).
  • ChipMixer, an unlicensed crypto mixer created in mid-2017, specialized in mixing or cutting trails related to virtual currency assets, Europol said. Coin mixers like ChipMixer allegedly allowed criminals to obfuscate the source of stolen cryptocurrency. 
  • The platform processed US$700 million in stolen funds in connection to two North Korean cyberattacks against the online game Axie Infinity and Horizon Bridge, said the DOJ. 
  • U.S. prosecutors in Philadelphia charged Minh Quốc Nguyễn, a 49-year-old from Vietnam, for operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business and identity theft. 
  • In May 2022, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on virtual currency mixer, accusing it of supporting North Korea’s money-laundering operations. In August of the same year, Tornado Cash was also sanctioned for allegedly laundering virtual currency worth US$7 billion.

See related story: India imposes money laundering regulations on crypto industry

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