by Dade Murphy, Block Cubed:
Emerging reports from Polish media suggest that authorities in the country are investigating a major cryptocurrency exchange for fraud and possible ties to Colombian drug cartels, reports Coin Telegraph.
The investigation is allegedly tied to Colombian drug cartel operations, a local news outlet reported April 6. The report has not yet been officially confirmed or denied by Bitfinex.
According to local media website TVP Info, prosecutors in Lodz Voivodship just West of Warsaw have seized some $380 million held in multiple accounts at a regional bank.
Polish tech blog Spider’s Web says that their “unofficial” investigation revealed the accounts are linked to well known cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex:
(Original report has been translated into English via Google and posted below in its original form)
>One of the largest and most controversial cryptocurrency exchanges Bitfinex received a big hit in Poland today – PLN 1.3 billion at the Cooperative Bank in Skierniewice was seized by the prosecutor’s office . The money is to be linked through the Bitfineks network of companies and the Colombian drug trade.
On April 6, 2018, Zbigniew Ziobro boasted about his success of $ 370 million. associated with fraud, people whose names appeared in Panama Papers and companies that are pillars of the “large foreign cryptocurrency market”. The accounts were to be located in a small Polish bank.
Our unofficial information shows that it is about Bitfinex. The Polish prosecutor’s office has not raised any charges yet, and due to the international dimension of the case, the Central Investigation Office cooperates with Europol and Interpol.
A spokesperson for Bitfinex and moderator of the Bitfinex Reddit forums immediately responded to the claims:
This is not true and Bitfinex aren’t affected by whatever has happened. We’ll be releasing an official statement on this later today.
It has been revealed through various online investigators, including the controversial @Bitfinexed whistleblower Twitter page, that Bitfinex was having difficulty maintaining bank accounts around the world due to their unregulated cryptocurrency activities and eventually settled on banks in Poland:
Bitcoin’s biggest exchange, Bitfinex, which currently handles around half a billion in bitcoin trading volumes, has launched a euro trading pair after seemingly securing a bank account with Bank Spółdzielczy w Skierniewicach which translates to Cooperative Bank in Skierniewice (pictured above).
The tiny bank apparently had assets of only around $13 million in 2011, according to wikipedia, making profits of around $5 million.
Source: Trust Nodes
Skierniewicach is located in the Lodz Voivodship region of Poland, the same area in which the Polish government seized drug cartel linked funds.
According to Crypto Globe:
While analyzing this company’s’ connections, investigators found a “man with citizenship of Colombia and Panama,” associated with a large cryptocurrency exchange, according to tvp.info . While this news outlet does not name Bitfinex, it claims “millions of these operations flowed through small Cooperative Bank in Łódź Voivodship.” Bitfinex is believed to have a bank account with a bank located in Skierniewice , a town in Łódź Voivodship.
Per Polish news outlets, a chain of companies was being created. These were used to “hide money from smuggling cocaine to Europe. The companies were also used for large scale scams.” Bitfinex was seemingly involved in these operations as criminals used it to launder money by exchanging it for cryptocurrencies.