Authorities Raid ChipMixer and Seize Assets Worth $46M
- ChipMixer is alleged to have aided money laundering and other financial crimes.
- Belgium, Poland, and Switzerland all assisted in the raid.
The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, also known as Europol, announced on March 15 that it had seized assets belonging to crypto mixer ChipMixer. Authorities reportedly shut down the platform’s infrastructure and seized four servers, 7 megabytes of data, and 1909.4 bitcoins (BTC), totaling $47.7 million.
The investigation and raid on ChipMixer were coordinated by the Central Cybercrime Bureau of Poland, the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany, the Belgian Federal Police, the Cantonal Police of Zurich Switzerland, the United States Department of Homeland Security, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Department of Justice.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), ChipMixer helped state-sponsored actors, darknet marketplaces, and scammers launder money. The DOJ also charged Minh Quc Nguyn, a ChipMixer operator from Hanoi, Vietnam, with money laundering, running an unregistered money transfer company, and identity fraud.
ChipMixer reportedly facilitated the laundering of 152,000 BTC, or about $3.8 billion, since 2017. Authorities claim that a significant portion of the laundered funds was associated with ransomware organizations, illegal drug trafficking, and child sex exploitation. The DOJ also noted that ChipMixer was associated with stolen funds related to criminal groups, including North Korea-backed hackers.
According to the authorities,
ChipMixer, an unlicensed cryptocurrency mixer set up in mid-2017, was specialised in mixing or cutting trails related to virtual currency assets. The ChipMixer software blocked the blockchain trail of the funds, making it attractive for cybercriminals looking to launder illegal proceeds from criminal activities.
The raid on ChipMixer comes months after the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control sanctioned Tornado Cash, a mixing service. U.S. authorities believed Tornado Cash aided North Korea’s money-laundering activities.