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European police target Kinahan's hidden Bitcoin cash in Belgium and the Czech Republic

A Bitcoin ‘mine’ was discovered in a raid on the cartel last month.

Image: Shutterstock/PORTRAIT IMAGES ASIA BY NONWARIT

MILLIONS OF EURO is being washed through online currencies and European banks by accountants and Belgian Bitcoin experts who are being paid by the Ireland’s biggest gangs.

Gardaí and international police have long suspected that the Kinahan drug gang had been washing its money through online currencies such as Bitcoin. However, last month’s arrest of a number of suspected drug traffickers in the Netherlands brought with it the seizure of what is known as a bitcoin mining rig.

The cartel has been losing stashes of money all over Dublin and on the continent in recent weeks and have been trying to move its money using different means. Gardaí had long suspected that they were involved in moving large amounts of the cryptocurrency, and lost month’s seizure would appear to confirm that thinking.

WhatsApp Image 2017-11-17 at 18.54.40 (1) The bitcoin mining rig seized in Amsterdam. Source: Garda Press Office

Now, gardaí have been briefed by Dutch police and Europol about what is found in the hard drives seized last month. It is hoped that the computers will give more information on the inner workings of the cartel. So far, information garnered from these hard drives as well as on the servers of an arrested Chilean drug baron last month has led international police to suspect that a Czech bank is the main institution through which cash is being laundered.

Earlier this week, Europol arrested 159 people and identified 766 so-called money mules in a continent-wide crackdown on illegally moving money.

A report by EUROJUST- the European Union’s Judicial Cooperation Unit, found that an increasing role of Bitcoin transactions was identified in the money laundering schemes used by the criminals.

Read: Confident gardaí have Kinahans on the back foot after latest drug seizure >

Read: Kinahan cartel member arrested in Spain after €35 million cocaine seizure >

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