£4 billion of cryptocurrency is being laundered in Europe

As much as £4 billion of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is being laundered by criminal organisations, the director of Europol has claimed.

The advent of virtual currencies has given criminals a chance to make their money harder to track by authorities, by converting Bitcoin into fiat currencies in smaller amounts after cashing out.

Rob Wainwright said: “It’s growing quite quickly and we’re quite concerned. They’re not banks and governed by a central authority so the police cannot monitor those transactions.

“And if they do identify them as criminal they have no way to freeze the assets unlike in the regular banking system.”

The predicted £4 billion amounts to about three or four per cent of the total £100 billion in ilicit cash in Europe.

“They have to take a responsible action and collaborate with us when we are investigating very large-scale scrime,” Wainwright added. “I think they also have to develop a better sense of responsiblity around how they’re running virtual currency.”