Rotterdam court convicts dutch dark web money launderers

The Rotterdam District Court had the couple forfeit 2,532 BTC and €250,000 ($295,256)

Aerial view of Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Law enforcement revealed that the couple had been laundering funds for over two and a half years

The Rotterdam District Court in the Netherlands convicted a couple of money laundering on dark web platforms. The court was able to seize 2,532 bitcoins (around $29 million) from the couple, who were from the city of Hilversum.

The man and his wife were sentenced to two years and two and a half years in prison, respectively, for money laundering. Both suspects were also given individual fines of €45,000 ($53,137) and pushed to forfeit €138,000 ($162,955) and $40,000.

The Dutch Public Prosecution Service successfully prosecuted the couple on the grounds that they had laundered more than €16 million ($18.9 million) in two and a half years after they established that the source of a large amount of bitcoin in their possession came from shady transactions on the dark web.

“The Hilversum traders bought bitcoins for millions of euros in cash from private individuals and companies. The bitcoin trade was not known to the tax authorities”, the court stated.

The court statement lays out how two separate sums of 1,488 BTC and 1,044 BTC were seized from the suspect as well as €250,000 ($295,256) in cash. The court added that the couple had purchased bitcoin so that they could exchange large sums of euro in cash from private individuals and companies. These transactions had not been disclosed to the Dutch authorities, and they were carried out with the use of methods that would keep their clients anonymous.

“The merchants did not ask customers for identity papers, while large amounts were often exchanged. The suspects, a man and his wife, came into contact with customers through advertisements on the Internet and a marketplace on the dark web. Much of the bitcoins traded bore traces of the dark web”, the paper narrated.

The court explained that these exchanges usually happened in a certain fast – food restaurant within a big city, without any due diligence or KYC processes. This typically gives dark web criminals a significant advantage, because they are given the opportunity to swap their bitcoin for fiat currency without having to go through the usual checks and balances that mainstream fiat – crypto exchanges implement.

Finally, the court ruled that the bitcoin acquired from the couple had remnants of activity on the dark web. The cryptocurrency has been widely linked to criminal activities such as child pornography and murder for hire, and authorities often use it to track down these underground markets.