The Brazilian Police Department for the Protection of Citizenship (DPPC) seized R$172 million after an investigation into money laundering through cryptocurrency exchanges according to press statement.

Brazilian police executed six search warrants in Sao Paulo and Diadema as part of the operation “Exchange”, following which the Brazilian judiciary ordered the freezing of accounts and the seizure of assets from two individuals and 17 entities.

The court orders emerged from investigations into the performance of brokers in the intermediation of buying and selling virtual currency (bitcoins) for fictitious/unfit businesses formed in the name of “oranges” to gain access to the banking system for their founders.

According to preliminary investigations, companies traded large amounts among themselves and then allocated the funds to brokers, who were in charge of acquiring digital assets and then delivering the cryptocurrency validation code (hash) to their clients, which could be used anywhere in the world without being tracked or linked to the source.

Related: Malaysian Police seize another 211 Bitcoin Mining Machines

Investigations revealed that the brokerage exchanged over R$ 10 million in virtual currencies with at least 6 bogus businesses in only 5 months and that 8 additional companies acquired roughly R$ 15 million in virtual currencies within the same period.

The operations are said to be aimed at transferring money to firms in other countries (offshores) and then repatriating it through the simulation of sales or service provision.

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