Police need powers to tackle virtual money laundering - Europol

THE HAGUE Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:12pm IST

Mock Bitcoins are displayed on a table in an illustration picture taken in Berlin January 7, 2014. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski/Files

Mock Bitcoins are displayed on a table in an illustration picture taken in Berlin January 7, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski/Files

Related Topics

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The head of the European Union's policing agency warned on Monday that virtual currencies such as Bitcoin were being used for money laundering and called for police to be given more powers to identify criminal suspects operating on the Internet.

Financial and law enforcement authorities have previously warned of the security risk posed by virtual currencies, which use encryption systems to reliably process transactions while being difficult for authorities to trace.

"We're seeing that virtual currencies are being used as an instrument to facilitate crime, particularly in regard to the laundering of illicit profits," said Europol head Rob Wainwright, speaking on the margins of a nuclear security conference in The Hague.

U.S. authorities last year moved to shut down Silk Road, an underground marketplace which allowed participants to settle their accounts anonymously using Bitcoin. Ross Ulbricht, its alleged founder, also faces money laundering charges. His trial is due to start in November.

Wainwright said police should be given new powers to allow them to identify anonymous participants online and bring them to justice.

Europol has no policing powers of its own, but acts to coordinate policing and cross-border investigations between the 28 member countries of the European Union.

Wainwright said police do not have sufficient capabilities to operate online and identify anonymous groups that are using dark areas of the internet. "Criminals are abusing those freedoms and damaging society and threatening the security of millions," he said.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Geert De Clercq and David Holmes)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

TECH WRAP

Reuters Showcase

RK Laxman Dead

RK Laxman Dead

'Common Man' cartoonist RK Laxman dead at 93  Full Article 

Nuclear Group

Nuclear Group

China urges India to take steps to satisfy standards of NSG  Full Article 

India’s Male Tenor

India’s Male Tenor

India’s lone male tenor wants to ‘Indianise’ opera  Full Article 

Facebook Outage

Facebook Outage

Hacker group claims it is behind outages at Facebook, other sites  Full Article 

U.S. Blizzard

U.S. Blizzard

`Life-threatening' blizzard shuts down much of U.S. Northeast  Full Article 

Australian Open

Australian Open

Berdych ends Nadal tyranny on day of shocks  Full Article 

Fashionable Modi

Fashionable Modi

When Modi met Obama, his name was all over - his suit  Full Article 

Photo

Auschwitz Anniversary

Last survivors recall Auschwitz, ask if lessons learned  Full Article | Related Story 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage