Kinahan Cartel: New EU Laws to Target Gangs Using Cryptocurrencies to Hide Assets


Thousands of crypto specialists and law enforcement financial investigators gathered for a two-day event in The Hague organized by EU police forces.

Speakers at the 6th Global Conference on Criminal Finance and Cryptocurrencies discussed how, as they spread to virtually every country, they are committing new forms of crime and laundering dirty money.

It has been reported that the Kinahan Cartel converted some of its assets into cryptocurrencies in an effort to avoid being tracked down by law enforcement officials.

A Europol spokesperson said new laws, due to come into force, will target criminal gangs using cryptocurrencies to hide assets.

“Professional money launderers are taking advantage of the ever-increasing options offered by crypto assets – from mining to decentralized services – to launder the proceeds of physical and cyber crime.

“But law enforcement, regulators and the private sector are working hard to stay ahead of those who misuse crypto assets to commit crimes and launder money.

“The legislation is getting tougher. New EU regulations, for example, will ensure that crypto assets are treated like any other asset for the purposes of anti-money laundering regulation and oversight.

In June, we revealed how a leading US counterterrorism group claimed that the Kinahan Cartel was likely to start using cryptocurrency to transfer its illicit profits out of Dubai.

And a group of US-based security experts claimed that Irish mob bosses were likely to try to convert their assets into cryptocurrency to avoid detection by law enforcement.

The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) also warns that sanctions alone are unlikely to be enough to stop the Kinahan cartel – and that the United States will have to extradite the group’s leaders to end mob activity.

They write: “[The] the sanctions will cause very little disruption to the criminal operations of the KOCG or impact its ability to generate funds due to its global illicit activities.

“The KOCG is most likely taking advantage of weak anti-money laundering controls in the UAE to conceal the origins of its illicit finances, likely generating additional funds for its criminal empire.

“Without extradition from the UAE, it is highly unlikely that law enforcement will be able to prevent Christopher Kinahan Sr. or his sons from conducting their international operations.”

In April, the US government imposed sanctions on leaders of the Kinahan Organized Crime Group (KOCG) who had operated openly for years in the Gulf state.

After the sanctions were announced, Dubai officials also froze the cartel leader‘s bank accounts.

The Sunday World previously revealed how Christy Snr and her two sons, Daniel and Christopher Jnr, allegedly scrambled to get their assets out of the Emirate’s state.

And a group based in the United StatesSecurity experts have claimed that Irish mob bosses are likely to try to convert their assets into cryptocurrency to avoid detection by law enforcement.

The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) also warns that sanctions alone are unlikely to be enough to stop the Kinahan cartel – and that the United States will have to extradite the group’s leaders to end mob activity.

They write: “[The] the sanctions will cause very little disruption to the criminal operations of the KOCG or impact its ability to generate funds due to its global illicit activities.

“The KOCG is most likely taking advantage of weak anti-money laundering controls in the UAE to conceal the origins of its illicit finances, likely generating additional funds for its criminal empire.

“Without extradition from the UAE, it is highly unlikely that law enforcement will be able to prevent Christopher Kinahan Sr. or his sons from conducting their international operations.”

The Counterterrorism Group describes itself as a global organization “focused on detecting, deterring and defeating terrorism and other threats”.

They also claim that increased collaboration between international authorities will have encouraged the gang to use cryptocurrency.

“Law enforcement will almost certainly be unable to detect illicit financial flows in the cryptocurrency market due to the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency,” the report states.

In the report by the group’s Illicit Finance and Economic Threats team, the group also noted that authorities in Dubai are unlikely to be able to stop the gang from carrying out its transnational criminal organization.

In The Hague, the conference heard how professional money launderers are taking advantage of the ever-increasing options offered by crypto assets – from mining to decentralized services – to launder the proceeds of physical and cyber crimes.

But law enforcement, regulators, and the private sector are working hard to stay ahead of those who misuse crypto assets to commit crimes and launder money.

Legislation is getting tougher with new European regulations aimed at ensuring that crypto assets are treated like any other asset for the purposes of anti-money laundering regulation and oversight.

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