Taiwan Police Uncover Massive $320 Million Cryptocurrency Money Laundering Plot

Last updated on: November 1, 2023, 09:37h.

Police in Taiwan have apprehended an individual accused of organizing an extensive money laundering operation in the country. The operation was uncovered after the suspect’s numerous overseas gambling trips.

A police officer in Taiwan on a motorcycle
A police officer in Taiwan on a motorcycle. Police have arrested a man who ran a multimillion-dollar money laundering scheme. (Image: Flickr)

The Electronic Investigation Team (EIT) of Taiwan’s Criminal Bureau recently exposed an elaborate money laundering operation orchestrated by an individual referred to as “Qui” last year, according to United Daily News. This intricate network of illicit financial transactions spanned multiple Southeast Asian countries and involved a staggering $320 million in Tether (USDT) cryptocurrency.

Qui operated as a legitimate merchant while secretly overseeing a significant criminal enterprise across Southeast Asia, including countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines, and Hong Kong.

Qui imposed a 1% commission on every money laundering transaction, resulting in a substantial profit of $3.2 million. However, authorities suspect the actual earnings may be higher.

Since February 2022, authorities have gathered compelling evidence linking Qui to the transfer of a massive 320 million Tether through cryptocurrency wallets under his control. As Tether’s value is pegged to the US dollar, each coin holds an approximate value of $1, subject to minor fluctuations.

Cryptocurrency Network

Qui utilized a network of counterfeit accounts to divert the illicit funds, ultimately acquiring possession. During the process, the funds were systematically converted into various cryptocurrencies, effectively obscuring their origin and simplifying subsequent transactions.

The investigation into this extensive operation began when EIT investigators focused on Taishin Securities, a Taiwan-based financial products firm. Their suspicions were initially raised by the discovery of pirated software associated with the company.

The money trail eventually led authorities to Qui. Detailed analysis of Qui’s daily activities revealed a series of suspicious trips and engagements. Qui’s frequent travels abroad, often involving visits to undisclosed legal and illegal casinos, suggested potential connections with individuals previously flagged for involvement in criminal activities.

Authorities Seize Luxury Vehicles

Qui was apprehended on June 13 upon his return to Taiwan through Taoyuan Airport. As part of the investigation, authorities confiscated Qui’s cellphone, which allegedly contains comprehensive evidence of his criminal operations.

Authorities also seized a Lamborghini URUS SUV, a Lexus LM minivan, three Apple Watches, CNY210,000 (US$28,686) in cash, multiple computers, debit cards, and various illicit substances.

Several other individuals connected to the operation have been arrested. They could face prison sentences of up to seven years and fines of up to TWD1 million (US$30,770) under Taiwan’s Money Laundering Control Act. Their court appearances are pending.

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