The cybercrime team of the Central Netherlands police arrested a 39-year-old resident of Veenendaal on suspicion of laundering tens of millions of euros via stolen cryptocurrencies.
The police also suggested that the individual amassed his digital asset holdings through fake updates from crypto wallet Electrum.
The Latest Crypto Scam in the Netherlands
The Netherlands’ police reported the arrest of the wrongdoer on its official website. According to the investigation, once stealing amounts of Bitcoin, he repeatedly converted it into Monero and vice versa through the decentralized exchange Bisq. Thus, his fraudulent transactions were hard to be identified without thorough examination.
Local law enforcement agents, though, conducted a joint operation with the central cybercrime team to monitor specific BTC transactions and eventually traced those activities to the 39-year-old. At the time of his arrest, he was in the village of Veenendaal.
Over the course of his fraud, the police estimated that he had laundered tens of millions of euros worth of cryptocurrencies. The authorities confiscated that amount and searched his home, where they seized “data carriers” to help the ongoing investigations.
To collect his bitcoin possessions, the individual allegedly used a malicious software update for the Electrum wallet. It is an open-source BTC wallet application that allows users to manage their digital assets. Without giving additional details, the Dutch police stated:
“The funds were stolen after phishing with malicious Electrum software pushed through malicious servers.”
A few days after detaining him, the authorities sent the man home, where he remains a suspect in conducting a multi-million cryptocurrency scam.
Crypto’s Popularity Grows in the Netherlands
Cryptocurrency fraudulent schemes usually occur in regions where digital asset adoption is at a high level. On that note, it is worth noting that 14% of Dutch households have exposure to bitcoin or altcoins (according to a survey carried out by the European Central Bank). Thus, the Netherlands ranked first in that statistic surpassing countries like Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, and France.
Similar to other research, the ECB estimated that the rich proportion of the population finds crypto more intriguing than those in the lower income brackets. Well-educated, young men represent the largest chunk of investors, the institution added.
To limit cryptocurrency scams, the ECB (specifically its President Christine Lagarde) has suggested numerous times that the sector should function under strict rules.