Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) say cases of suspected money laundering reportedly linked to cryptocurrency increased by 900 percent in 2018 when compared to the previous year. However, this still comprises only 1.7 percent of all money laundering investigations.
Cryptocurrency Money Laundering Up Tenfold in Japan
According to The Japan Times, the NPA reports that it recorded 7,096 cases of suspected cryptocurrency money laundering. This figure represents a tenfold increase from the 669 cases reported between April and December 2017.
Back in early December 2018, the NPA released a report stating that alleged cases of cryptocurrency money laundering for the year stood at almost 6,000. At the time, the period accounted for was between January 2018 and October 2018.
Since Q2 2017, regulators have required cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan to report instances of suspected illegal virtual currency transactions. This move was part of a whole host of reforms targeted at combating illicit activities carried out via digital currencies.
The NPA says many of the suspicious transactions involved multiple accounts with different bio-data information but using the same photo ID. Other cases involved accounts using foreign IPs even though details of the accounts show listing addresses based in Japan.
According to the NPA’s figures, the increase in crypto-related money laundering is indicative of a general rise in illegal financial transactions across the board in 2018. The NPA says it recorded more than 417,000 cases of alleged money laundering, an increase of over 17,000 from 2017.
Also, the percentage of crypto-related money laundering in the general reckoning has also increased. In 2018, 1.70 percent of money laundering was from cryptocurrency transactions compared to 0.16 percent in 2017.
Robust KYC/AML/CFT Rules to the Rescue
In August 2018,