The Civil Guard in Spain has broken up a group that used cryptocurrencies to hide money. The group, which was based in Madrid, is said to have given these services to other criminal groups. People in Spain’s Civil Guard called these “MAUNA” operations, and they found phantom companies in countries like Spain and Belgium and others that helped fund these actions.
In Operation MAUNA, the Spanish Civil Guard stops people from using crypto money to hide money.
The Civil Guard in Spain said on February 15 that they had arrested several people who were linked to an organization that used scams and cryptocurrencies to hide money. A member of a group that had been investigated before was behind this new investigation, according to the Central Operative Unit of the Civil Guard, who asked about the source of this new investigation
MAUNA, which was the name of the operation, found that this criminal group also provided these services to other, similar groups and was used as a money laundering hub by other groups. In the beginning, there were only a few people who were connected to drug trafficking who did the work. As the operation grew, the group started to change how it did business in order to get more of these activities.
Because of this crackdown, eight people were arrested in Madrid and Valladolid during nine search operations. Fifteen bank accounts have been shut down and more than €300K (almost $340K) has been seized. Also, several cold wallets with cryptocurrency and goods worth more than €1,000,000 (almost $1,136,000) were found. A lot of phantom companies in Europe were also linked to the group. They were in Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, and Lithuania to name a few.
They also worked with the US Drug Enforcement Agency to try to figure out where some of the group’s money came from and how it was used.
Afraid of Changes in Volatility
Criminals seem to have thought about how volatile cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are. The official report on the operation says that the following is true:
“As a method to avoid the fluctuation in the value of the cryptocurrency obtained until the money-laundering operation was carried out, the organization converted said digital asset into USDT currency (Tether).”
According to a report from Chainalysis, money laundering with crypto is still a small operation compared to what is done with fiat currencies. These numbers rose 30% in 2021 compared to 2020. This means that between $800 billion and $2 trillion is thought to have been laundered through fiat methods. This means that $8.6 billion was laundered through crypto.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.