Europol shuts down suspected crypto-laundering operation in €44 million bust

A suspected dark-net cryptocurrency laundering service has been shut down by Europol during a bust that led to the seizure of more than €44 million in Bitcoin, although it is not clear if anyone was arrested.

Europol says it took down ChipMixer on March 15, seizing four servers and 7TB of data, along with some 1,900 Bitcoins. It made no mention of any suspects being taken into custody, however.

ChipMixer was described by Europol as “an unlicensed cryptocurrency mixer” that specialized in obfuscating, or “mixing” blockchain trails leading back to the illegal source of digital funds deposited with the gang behind the operation.

These funds would allegedly be turned into chips that were then “mixed” together, “anonymizing all trails” leading back to their origins.

The funds allegedly processed by ChipMixer were gained from a range of crimes including ransomware attacks, drug and weapons trafficking, and payment card fraud, it added.

Drop in the ocean?

However, before its demise, ChipMixer is believed by Europol to have notched up a staggering €2.73 billion in laundered Bitcoin, much of it derived from the type of crimes described above as well as child pornography and crypto assets.

Ransom gangs believed by Europol to have used ChipMixer include Zeppelin, SunCrypt, Mamba, Dharma, and LockBit – the last of these being probably the most prolific group of its kind.

Police in Belgium, Poland, Switzerland, and Germany helped to take down the suspected crypto-laundering site, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US.

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