Bitfinex Denies Any Links to Polish Investigation on Money Laundering and Fraud
Bitfinex exchange has denied any links to the ongoing investigation in Poland involving a money laundering operation by Colombian drug cartels.
An “internal investigation” by Bitfinex into its own “internal organisation” found no evidence of any connection with the said money laundering plot. Two shell companies have been accused of defrauding the Belgian government and for money laundering.
Criminals had allegedly been converting fiat into cryptocurrencies using Bitfinex. The trail is said to have led to drug trafficking networks. A Bitfinex user was allegedly interviewed by police in relation to the allegations.
“Based on all available evidence and information, we have concluded that these allegations are untrue and unfounded,” Bitfinex said in a statement.
“Among the claims under dispute, Bitfinex has not been party to any official investigation launched in any jurisdiction globally on the basis of the allegations reported in the Polish media.”
“This signals that the relevant authorities have found no reason to act upon the claims made against the Bitfinex platform.”
There were reports in the Polish media as well that customers could not access their funds. The exchange has, however, come out to deny the claims.
“Bitfinex believes that these allegations are untrue and Bitfinex customers and operations are unaffected by false rumours,” a spokesperson said.
About $375 million was seized from banks by Polish authorities allegedly belonging to the two shell companies accused of money laundering. Polish media had reported that one of the companies was linked to Bitfinex.
One of the shell companies allegedly defrauded € 400,000 from the Belgian government intended for the construction of an embassy in the Republic of Congo.
Polish prosecutors are said to be working with international law enforcement agencies on the matter according to local media reports. No charges have been filed so far.
Wave of Controversy
It is not the first time the Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange is facing trouble with regulators. Last year, it was subpoenaed by US authorities. Although details have not been released nor charges filed, it is widely believed it was linked to the Tether controversy.
Tether, the company that creates Tether, a coin allegedly backed by dollar reserves was in the limelight recently after accusations that it was artificially pumping the price of Bitcoin surfaced. It was claimed the company did not indeed have the reserves to back the tokens which have become popular as a way of circumventing banks. Tether is linked to Bitfinex.
One of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitfinex has been recently plotting a move to Switzerland as it seeks to bring different fragmented operations under one roof.
Tough Operating Environment
China has recently proved a tough environment to operate in due to its tough stance on cryptocurrencies.
Regionally, in South Korea, regulators are tightening the noose of cryptocurrency exchanges as authorities seek to assert more control over the industry.
Anonymous trading is now banned and regulators have been conducting physical inspections. Cryptocurrency exchange executives were recently arrested for allegedly embezzling customer’s funds.
The CEO of Coinnest was among those recently arrested.
India also barred banks from dealing with cryptocurrencies inviting the ire of the large pool of cryptocurrency enthusiasts in the country. An online petition to challenge the move is currently ongoing and has gathered over 22,000 signatures.
Japan too has increased its scrutiny after high profile hackings that saw record amounts of funds stolen. Exchanges are now required to implement strict security control measures to be allowed to operate.