KPMG devotes a section of their study to the role of cryptocurrency in money laundering and financial crime, illustrating methods used to launder money via digital currency. In the text addressed to financial institutions, KPMG also lays out tips on how to tackle the phenomenon.
According to KPMG, money laundering can be accomplished by buying cryptocurrency at an exchange or by cash or debit card at cryptocurrency ATM using the services of accomplices who have clean records, corroborated employment and an impeccable online profile. KPMG’s report states:
“Launderers use mixing (or tumbling) services to swap primary coin addresses for temporary digital wallet addresses to fool the blockchain and break audit traceability. Another tactic uses false receiving addresses to re-route transactions to backup addresses, also breaking the audit trail. Mixed primary coins are then transferred to an advance digital exchange to purchase privacy coins.”
Given the specific nature of money laundering via crypto, KPMG argues that banks can no longer rely on traditional anti-money laundering tactics.
KPMG proposes that financial institutions and regulators work together to more effectively combat money laundering, stating:
“Regulators must develop more up-to-date, focused standards that deal with the challenges of this rapidly evolving area. And financial institutions must take responsibility for ensuring their systems and processes are capable of mitigating the risks insofar as possible.”
The phenomenon of using crypto to launder money has long been used to criticize cryptocurrency. In April, major crypto exchange Bitfinex was accused by Polish prosecutors of having “ties” to money allegedly laundered and seized in a Polish bank.
The G20 countries discussed the subject of crypto used for money laundering at their meeting in March 2018 with the intent to develop common regulations globally.