A bunch of siblings consisting of a brother and sister was taken into custody by the Hong Kong customs on the basis of their suspicion of laundering over HK$380 million (which would be $50 million in USD) via bank accounts and of course, a cryptocurrency exchange.
According to the announcement made by the Hong Kong customs on the matter, a brother and sister, 21 and 28 years old respectively, were arrested on the suspicion of money laundering offenses under the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance, or OSCO. Further investigations into the matter revealed that the duo had opened up accounts at various banks, as well as a “cryptocurrency exchange trading platform.”
They stand accused of this crime by “dealing with money from unknown sources through bank transfers, cash deposits and cryptocurrency.”
They were found to receive in their accounts more than HK$100 million ($12.8 million USD) from 380 separate bank accounts, all in about 2,500 transactions, per the South China Morning Post.
Senior investigator at Hong Kong Customers, Yu Yiu-Wing, spoke with the SCMP and said the brother handled the HK$38 million ($4.8 million USD) in his own crypto exchange account, which included some of the amount being held in stablecoins.
Yu said, “One cryptocurrency was pegged to US dollars.” He continued “It was converted into US dollars on the platform and transferred to the brother’s bank account. The money was then diverted to different personal and corporate accounts.”
Yu also mentioned that the suspects must have used crypto in an attempt to cover up their transactions. “We believe the [suspects] made use of the obscurity of the platform to help others convert the unknown [income] to fiat money through cryptocurrency,” he said when talking to SCMP.
The pair of siblings have been released on bail but are still pending further investigations. Should they be found guilty after all, they’ll face a maximum penalty of HK$5 million ($640,000 USD) and up to 14 years in prison.
The increased usage of cryptocurrency for the use of money laundering has most definitely become an increasing concern for lawmakers and regulators all over the world, and proper provisions would need to be made on the matter, so as to prevent issues and drastic situations like these from taking place.