- Hong Kong authorities arrested four men suspected of involvement in a money-laundering syndicate that involved HK$1.2 billion (US$155 million), the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday.
- The men, ages 24 to 36, were arrested last week during operation "Coin Breaker," the newspaper cited a Hong Kong customs official as saying.
- It is alleged the syndicate operated from February 2020 to May this year, with shell companies using e-wallet accounts and a local platform to trade in "privacy coins" issued by Tether Ltd.
- Customs authorities say the alleged money-laundering syndicate charged criminal clients a commission of 3% to 5%.
- Stuart Hoegner, general counsel for Tether, told CoinDesk via Telegram on Thursday his company did not issue so-called "privacy coins."
- It is the first money-laundering case involving cryptocurrency detected by the city's customs authorities, according to the report.
- Money laundering in Hong Kong carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison and a fine of up to HK$5 million (US$643,000).
UPDATE (July 15, 2021, 6:15 UTC): Adds comments from Stuart Hoegner.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.