US, Germany shut ChipMixer for alleged ties to US$3 bln crypto laundering
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.
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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 Blender.io, 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.
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