According to local Bulgarian media, a large-scale international-level investigation is being carried out in Sofia, the capital city, against a large-scale scheme for financial crimes, money laundering, and international sanctions against Russia.
Sources reveal that the investigation is being carried out against a company NEXO, a globally popular cryptocurrency lending, and trading platform, and authorities are raiding their offices in Bulgaria. The operation involves prosecutors, specialists from national investigation agencies, and foreign agents.
Nexo’s operations were being carried out from the Bulgarian capital, and depositors were invited to invest in Bitcoins and other types of cryptocurrencies, with the promise of high returns. However, the interest rates promised to the investors were disproportionately higher than those of traditional banking institutions and brokerage houses. In addition, the owners of the firm, who happen to be Bulgarians, have also been accused of appropriating part of the assets amounting to several billion dollars.
Siika Mileva, the official spokesperson for Bulgaria’s Attorney General, said that the ongoing investigation against Nexo and relevant witnesses are being interrogated. In his words:
“Currently, there are actions to investigate and question witnesses at the National Investigation Service. Furthermore, on the territory of the capital, there are massive actions to investigate, with the aim of neutralizing the illegal and criminal activity of the crypto bank Nexo.”
Speaking about Nexo, Mileva said that the platform has created and maintains a global platform for trading and lending cryptocurrencies. Quoting him:
“This bank has created and maintains a multinational platform for trade and lending cryptocurrency. Pre-trial proceedings have been filed, alleging that the main organizers of the activity are Bulgarian citizens and its main activity is carried out from the territory of Bulgaria.”
According to Mileva, over 300 agents are working on this investigation against the firm. The firm has been alleged to run an organized criminal group, money laundering, tax fraud, and computer fraud, as well as crime associated with conducting banking services without the necessary licenses.
Local media says that the investigation into the activities of Nexo started a few months ago after foreign services detected suspicious transactions which were evading the sanctions placed on Russia by the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States following its geopolitical tensions with Ukraine.
Cryptocurrencies can play a fair role in evading sanctions; hence regulators across the globe have been rigid with the firms functioning in their jurisdiction to comply with it strictly. For example, Todayq News reported that in October, all approved cryptocurrency exchanges in Singapore were reminded to abide by the financial restrictions put in place against Russia by the Monetary Exchange of Singapore (MAS), the nation’s central bank and financial regulator.
Similarly, the regulators in the United Kingdom introduced new regulations that obligated all the cryptocurrency exchanges to notify suspected sanctions breaches to UK authorities.