Ja­pan plagued by cryp­tocur­rency laun­der­ing cases

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TOKYO — Nearly 6,000 cases of sus­pected money laun­der­ing linked to cryp­tocur­rency were re­ported to po­lice in the Jan­uary-Oc­to­ber pe­riod, Na­tional Po­lice Agency (NPA) of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day.

The fig­ure is more than eight times higher than the 669 cases re­ported from April to De­cem­ber last year. Cryp­tocur­rency ex­change oper­a­tors are re­quired to re­port trans­ac­tions sus­pected of in­volv­ing money laun­der­ing after

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the law on preven­tion of trans­fer of crim­i­nal pro­ceeds was re­vised in April 2017.

An NPA of­fi­cial at­trib­uted the ris­ing num­ber of re­ports to more oper­a­tors get­ting used to the no­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem. “We have seen some large-scale cryp­tocur­rency thefts, and oper­a­tors are be­lieved to have come to scru­ti­nise trans­ac­tions rig­or­ously,” the of­fi­cial said.

In a re­port on the trans­fer of crim­i­nal pro­ceeds re­leased yester- day, the Na­tional Pub­lic Safety Com­mis­sion pointed out the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of cryp­tocur­rency trans­ac­tions to abuse.

The com­mis­sion noted cryp­tocur­rency can be trans­ferred over­seas quickly in a highly anony­mous man­ner as most trans­ac­tions are done on­line.

But once cryp­tocur­rency trans­ac­tions are abused, it is dif­fi­cult to track crim­i­nal pro­ceeds as the reg­u­la­tions on the vir­tual cur­rency are dif­fer­ent in each coun­try, it added.

Among sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions re­ported to the po­lice, the com­mis­sion’s re­port said some users logged into their ac­counts from over­seas even though their ad­dresses were in Ja­pan.

The re­port also said the same photo was used in iden­tity ver­i­fi­ca­tion doc­u­ments sub­mit­ted by mul­ti­ple users with dif­fer­ent names and birth dates.

In a case in­ves­ti­gated by the po­lice in re­la­tion to money laun­der­ing, a for­eign vis­i­tor to Ja­pan was found to have sold a cryp­tocur­rency ac­count ID and pass­word.

In­clud­ing all fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions, 346,139 sus­pected money laun­der­ing and other abuse cases were re­ported to the po­lice in the Jan­uary-Oc­to­ber pe­riod, with most of them in­volv­ing banks and other fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, ac­cord­ing to the NPA of­fi­cials. — KY­ODO

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