Taiwanese authorities seize $320M in country’s largest crypto laundering scheme

The case has surpassed all previous records of money laundering investigated by the Criminal Investigation Bureau in Taiwan


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Taiwan authorities have arrested an individual suspected of laundering a record 10.4 billion Taiwanese dollars ($320 million) via digital assets. This marks the largest single case of crypto-related money laundering in the island nation’s history.

Identified only by the surname Qiu, the suspect was arrested in June upon his return from a trip to Southeast Asia, according to Taichung’s Criminal Investigation Bureau and local media.

The case emerged from an investigation initiated last year into a fake securities trading app. A probe led authorities to trace financial transactions, ultimately revealing Qiu’s alleged involvement in the scheme.

Law enforcement officials report that Qiu funneled money through multiple accounts. He exchanged them for tether (USDT) — a crypto pegged to the US dollar — and then sold the digital asset to convert it back into cash with the goal of obscuring the origin of the funds.

Qiu allegedly profited by taking a 1% commission from each transaction, and he also traveled frequently to Southeast Asian countries. These include Malaysia and the Philippines, where he is suspected of having connections with gambling and fraud syndicates. 

Authorities seized several luxury items from Qiu, including high-end vehicles and expensive watches. They also confiscated 21,000 Taiwanese dollars ($647) in cash, laptops, financial cards and other evidence.

Three additional suspects were also arrested in connection with the case, as authorities continue to investigate the source and destination of the laundered funds. 

Taiwan, along with several other Asian jurisdictions, is intensifying its anti-money laundering regulations for cryptocurrencies. The case is expected to add impetus to these efforts, similar to recent events in Hong Kong.

Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) penned a letter to the banking industry in July, prohibiting individuals from purchasing digital assets using credit cards.

The regulator labeled digital assets as highly volatile and speculative while stipulating credit cards should not be used for transactions involving gambling, stocks and derivatives.

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