Police and Industry Take Down $42m “Bulletproof Exchange”

Bitcoin exchange Binance has revealed how it joined forces with Ukrainian police to take down a cybercrime gang thought to be responsible for laundering $42m in cryptocurrencies.

First announced by the Cyberpolice of Ukraine back in June, the raid led to the arrest of three residents from the Poltava region. They have been accused of laundering the funds via 20 online cryptocurrency exchanges over the 2018-19 period.

More than $200,000 worth of computer equipment, weapons, ammunition and cash were seized during the swoop.

In a blog post published on Tuesday, Binance explained that the police operation was the product of a first-ever collaboration with its Binance Sentry security team and Security Data Science analytics arm.

The “Bulletproof Exchanger” project began in early 2020.

“One of the Security Data Science team’s tasks is to identify transactions between Binance and high-risk entities, including what we refer to as ‘bulletproof exchangers.’ These cryptocurrency platforms often serve as the cash-out points for cryptocurrency operations connected to financial crimes and other fraud,” it explained.

“Similar to bulletproof hosting services, which are web hosting providers with more lenient rules regarding what can be hosted on their servers, bulletproof exchangers are well-known for their lenient know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) policies.”

In conjunction with Blockchain analytics firm TRM Labs, Binance looked for entities handling large transaction volumes linked to high-risk categories like ransomware attacks, exchange hacks and darknet-related activities.

Its big data analysis provided police with crucial evidence for its investigation, which remains ongoing.

“As the digital currency market has a large number of financial transactions with money obtained from hacker attacks on international companies, the spread of malware, theft of funds from the bank accounts of foreign companies and individuals, the Department of Cyberpolice with Binance and its methodological assistance, promotes more prompt detection of those involved in such offenses,” said police chief Oleksandr Hrynchak.

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