28 February, 2021

Black Stash Of Secret Money

Money laundering haunts governments as they struggle to adapt to crypto-currencies

Photograph by Vijay Pandey
Black Stash Of Secret Money

When the Income Tax Dep­artment raided nine Bitcoin exchanges across the country on December 13, they did so suspecting money laundering. This was far from una­nticipated. In 2016, former Res­earch & Analysis Wing official R.K. Yad­av wrote a 46-page letter to PM Narendra Modi and Minister of Fin­ance Arun Jaitley, alerting them to closed-door seminars on crypto-currencies organised by a visiting Swiss national in the capital and in Chennai.

“High-profile persons attended the seminar and when I found out about it, I wrote a cautionary note to the PM and the FM. The Swiss national was urging people to get involved with crypto-currency. It was timed in November 2016, right after demonetisation,” says Yadav.

Yadav also pointed out that crypto-currency was being used in money-laundering and hawala to fund terrorism. In 2014-15, investigative reporters found that the Eastern European mafia were using crypto-currency to launder their proceeds from running guns and drugs.

A traditional way to launder money is to park dirty cash...

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