Global cryptocurrency task force closes in on sophisticated tax cheats

A global sweep of cryptocurrency tax avoidance schemes is imminent, with the number of active lines of inquiry set to nearly double – or so says a coalition of money laundering investigators from the US, Australia, Britain, Canada, and the Netherlands

J5, a team of five countries formed by the US Internal Revenue Service to fight cryptocurrency-powered crimes such as tax fraud, has 60 open investigations, but the Sydney Morning Herald reports it’s now considering additional 50.

The crew also confirmed they’ve shared more data between themselves since their efforts began last July than in the entire past decade.

Authorities said at least one investigation pertains to a “global financial institution” (and its intermediaries) believed to have enabled taxpayers to hide assets and income details.

“We’re seeing the use of cryptocurrencies in ways that we haven’t seen before,” Australian Taxation Office deputy commissioner Will Day told reporters. “At the Australian level, there is definitely legitimate use for investment in cryptocurrencies, but we’re also seeing the use of them to facilitate tax crimes.”

Day also explained that Australian players are often intermediaries working as ‘middle-men’ between the tax evader and an offshore entity.

Last month, Dutch police disrupted a dodgy cryptocurrency “mixing service” used to hide the ownership history of over $200 million worth of Bitcoin in just one year. All related data has since been shared between J5 members.

It’s not just international tax agencies eager to clamp down on cryptocurrency-powered money laundering.

Vancouver’s mayor recently suggested a complete ban on Bitcoin ATMs, just as the city’s police reiterated warnings that local fraudsters have been using machines in the region to launder dirty cash.

Published June 6, 2019 — 11:40 UTC

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