Investigations Archives -
On January 25 the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deputy assistant director, Greg Nevano, explained in a testimony that the agency was using “blockchain exploitation tools” to combat cryptocurrency use in illicit markets. Nevano’s testimony revolved around the growing opioid addiction problem in the U.S., and how the law enforcement organization is fighting the drugs deliveries stemming from international mail carriers.
ICE Is Combating Illicit Activities That Derive From International Mail Deliveries
This week the ICE deputy assistant director Greg Nevano discussed how his department was focused on fight the opioid and fentanyl problem plaguing the U.S. The director’s report explains how ICE is combating illicit activities that derive from international mail deliveries, alongside other cyber-based tactics used for fighting crime. Nevano also details to the U.S. Senate committee that cryptocurrencies are being used to facilitate drug trafficking across multiple borders.
Darknet Field Investigations and Exploiting Peer-to-Peer Cryptocurrency Exchangers
The ICE representative says the agency’s cyber-crime division is providing support to “field investigations” that target “darknet illicit marketplaces.” Nevano says that fentanyl and chemical precursors proliferate within these online markets and are sold for digital currencies. In 2014 the agency launched 37 investigations, and by 2015 the number increased to 100 inquiries. Today the ICE cyber-crime division is working on 600 probes and have over 500 requests for more field investigations.
“The cyber division is providing assistance with the development and management of online undercover personas in furtherance of online undercover operations and collaborates with joint agency strategies in taking down online sources of opioids,” the testimony details.
In support of its diverse financial investigative efforts ICE uses undercover techniques to infiltrate and exploit peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchangers who typically launder proceeds for criminal networks engaged in or supporting darknet marketplaces.
Training Agents to Understand Cryptocurrency and the Use of Blockchain Exploitation Tools
ICE says that it is training investigators from national and international law enforcement agencies to scrutinize cryptocurrency use that’s tethered to fentanyl/opioid or other narcotic purchases. Nevano’s testimony details that the organization is collecting “communication records such as phone toll records, Internet Protocol (IP) address activity records, email search warrants, and Title III wire intercepts” in these types of investigations. Further, the agency is also using tools that exploit blockchain networks tied to the digital assets used in illegal activity. Nevano states:
ICE leverages complex blockchain technology exploitation tools to analyze the digital currency transactions and identify transactors.
The testimony follows the recent actions taken by governments all around the world attempting to regulate the cryptocurrency economy. Moreover, news.Bitcoin.com reported on the blockchain surveillance company Chainalysis being contracted by ICE several times. Its likely that the Chainalysis blockchain monitoring products are just one of the exploitation tools deployed by the U.S. law enforcement agency. Nevano and ICE believe illicit narcotic smuggling in the international mail environment and cryptocurrencies are playing a role in the world’s opioid epidemic.
What do you think about ICE investigating the use of cryptocurrencies and the illegal opium trade? What kind of blockchain exploitation tools do you think this agency uses? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments below.
Images via Wiki Commons, ICE logo, and Pixabay.
The post U.S. Agency ICE Conducts Investigations That Exploit Blockchain Activity appeared first on Bitcoin News.
The GOP tax overhaul saved Wells Fargo & Co. more than $ 3 billion in the fourth quarter, but the bank also set aside more than $ 3 billion to cover costs related to ongoing problems with its consumer businesses, the company reported Friday.
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The South Korean regulators have started investigating two major cryptocurrency exchanges. The country’s National Tax Service has conducted an on-site investigation of Bithumb and Coinone. In addition, Coinone is also being investigated by the Korean police for allegedly offering illegal gambling services to investors.
Tax Authority Investigating Bithumb and Coinone
The South Korean National Tax Service (NTS) has launched a tax investigation of two of the country’s largest bitcoin exchanges, Bithumb and Coinone, Yonhap reported on Wednesday.
“The Seoul Regional Tax Office is investigating books and related materials including sales figures,” the news outlet described. Investigators were sent to Bithumb’s headquarters in Gangnam-gu and Coinone’s headquarters in Yeouido.
“It’s true that the NTS has come out with an investigation, but it is difficult to confirm the details of the investigation,” Bithumb was quoted by the Hankook-Ilbo. The publication elaborated:
The investigation is related to the virtual currency taxation industry analysis. The government is considering ways to impose a capital gains tax on virtual currency investment returns.
Coinone said the tax investigators asked basic questions such as the company size and the number of employees, the Hankyoreh detailed. According to SBS News, in addition to asking questions, the “investigators have confiscated financial data and computer hard disks” from Bithumb.
The Korean regulators are actively discussing ways to tax cryptocurrencies. Last week, they announced that some taxes are possible under the current law such as corporate tax, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.
Coinone Also Investigated by Police
In addition to being probed by the NTS, Coinone is also being investigated by the South Korean police, local publications reported on Tuesday. The police have launched “investigations of margin transactions that took place via Coinone, viewing them as gambling and a breach of the Capital Markets Act,” the Korea Herald explained. Cryptocurrency exchanges are not licensed to offer such services. The Hankook-Ilbo elaborated:
The police believe that Coinone is a kind of gambling [business] that provides members with a margin trading service that predicts the market price after a maximum of one week and chooses the number of short sales and makes profit or loss according to the result.
However, a Coinone official contested, stating that “We have already reviewed the law [to ensure] that there is no illegality before starting the service, and we have already stopped the service from concerns of the financial authorities.”
What do you think of the Korean government launching investigations of Bithumb and Coinone? Do you think more crypto exchanges will be investigated? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bithumb, Coinone.
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The post Korean Regulators Launch Investigations of Bithumb and Coinone Crypto Exchanges appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Under new head Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education will be easing up on investigations into civil rights complaints—investigations that were greatly expanded under President Obama, the New York Times reports. According to ProPublica , new guidelines were issued in a June 8 internal memo to replace Obama-era mandates. Under…
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A bipartisan group of senators grilled the head of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Wednesday after a survey revealed many colleges allow their athletic departments to oversee sexual assault cases involving student athletes.
NCAA President Mark Emmert agreed it was “spot on” that athletic department oversight of sexual violence investigations may deter victims from coming forward. But he resisted senators’ calls for immediate change, saying he wants to study the results of a survey released Wednesday showing one in five schools allow athletic departments to control sexual violence cases involving athletes.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights said Wednesday that it has opened investigations into the sexual violence policies at five more higher education institutions, after disclosing earlier this month its comprehensive list of current inquiries.
For the first time in its history, the federal agency on May 1 released a list of 55 colleges and universities that are being investigated for possible Title IX violations related to sexual violence on campus. (At least 32 additional Title IX investigations are also underway for other reasons.)
THE ASSISTANT EPA inspector general for investigations will reportedly tell Congress that the agency’s Homeland Security office, overseen by Gina McCarthy, left, obstructed investigations into employee misconduct and computer security.