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

Rajalakshmi (C), 28, smiles after winning the Miss Wheelchair India beauty pageant in Mumbai November 26, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Miss Wheelchair India

Seven women from across India participated in the country's second wheelchair beauty pageant, which aims to open doors for the wheelchair-bound in modelling, film and television, according to organisers  Slideshow 

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:

Online Grocery Shopping

Tech Showcase

Google in Europe

Google in Europe

Insight - Behind Google's Europe woes, American accents  Full Article 

Uber Lawsuit

Uber Lawsuit

Uber CEO must turn over emails in gratuity lawsuit, U.S. judge rules  Full Article 

Wikileaks Hacker

Wikileaks Hacker

Icelandic hacker says guilty of stealing money from Wikileaks  Full Article 

Motorola Case

Motorola Case

U.S. court rejects Motorola Mobility price-fixing appeal  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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