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Cryptocurrency Still a Minute Portion of Money Laundering Crimes, Says Police in Japan

Law enforcement in Japan says cryptocurrency money laundering constitutes only a minor portion of the total cases of money laundering in the country. This assertion comes even as police authorities say instances of virtual currency-related money laundering are on the rise.

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Two Percent
According to the Japan Times, the country’s National Police Agency (NPA) announced on Thursday (December 6, 2018) that it received about 6,000 cases of cryptocurrency-related money laundering crimes between January and October 2018.
While the number appears significant, the NPA says it pales in comparison to the total number of all non-crypto related cases. According to the report issued by the NPA, there were more than 340,000 cases of money laundering across the nation’s financial sector during the period under review.
Based on these figures, crypto-related money laundering accounted for only two percent of such crimes reported to police authorities. This revelation is yet another example of how false the claims of critics who say that virtual currencies are a playground for criminal elements. It turns out, in Japan, the shadowy crooks still prefer banks.
Two percent or not, law enforcement in the country say they intend to combat the trend. Japan has in 2018 tried to strengthen its cryptocurrency regulatory landscape. The Financial Services Agency (FSA) has taken multiple steps to firm up regulatory guidelines recently announcing a move to regulate custodial virtual currency wallet providers.

Cryptocurrency Money Laundering Crimes on the Rise
While the percentage is insignificant, the NPA reports that virtual currency money laundering cases are on the increase. According to the report, there were only 699 of such cases within a similar time frame in 2017.
Officials of the NPA say that part of the increase might have to do with improvements in the reporting framework as more stakeholders become used to the notification system being used. Commenting on a situation, an NPA official said:
We have seen some large-scale cryptocurrency thefts, and operators are believed to be scrutinizing transactions more rigorously.
Some of the suspicious cases involved transactions where the user claimed local Japanese addresses but logged into their accounts from other countries. Other cases also had multiple registrations with the same photo identification but different biodata details.
Do you still think cryptocurrency is the exclusive domain of shadowy fraudsters or are nocoiners like Roubini and co spewing garbage? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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