Two Australian cryptocurrency exchanges have been suspended by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac) following raids conducted by the Australian Federal Police in Melbourne. The raids resulted in the arrest of a 27-year-old who has been described as a “key member” of both exchanges.
Police Raids Result in Suspension of 2 Cryptocurrency Exchanges
The arrest of a 27-year-old in the Melbourne suburb of Bulleen has resulted in the suspension of two Australian cryptocurrency exchanges. The exchanges’ registration was immediately suspended after the man’s arrest, with Austrac national manager of regulatory operations Dr. Nathan Newman stating that the exchanges will not be permitted to resume operations until further notice.
Newman stated: “Our decision to suspend the registration of the two businesses means they can no longer lawfully operate.”
Arrested Individual Accused of Operating Darknet Drug Syndicate
The individual has been charged with possessing, importing, and trafficking approximately 30 kilograms of narcotics, including MDMA, cocaine, methamphetamine, and ketamine. The individual is alleged to have “played a key role in directing the operations of the criminal syndicate, which used various darknet sites, bitcoin accounts and legitimate business for the sourcing, payment, and distribution of the illicit drugs.”
Following a court order, more than 2 million Australian dollars (approximately USD $1.41 million) worth of assets have been seized by the Australian Federal Police following the man’s arrest, including several true estate properties, bank accounts, fiat currency, cryptocurrency, motor vehicles, and a motorbike. A video of the individual’s arrest shows the seizure of a BMW motorcycle by police.
The investigations leading to the raid have been linked to a seizure of over 33 kilograms of controlled substances that resulted in two arrests during 2017.
Australian Federal Police detective superintendent Paul Hopkins stated: “Investigations such as this are inherently complex and the operational results achieved by the investigative team are a testament to good police work and strong inter-agency cooperation.”
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