Australian exchanges suspended for association with drug trafficking operation

Australia’s government financial intelligence agency has suspended two cryptocurrency exchanges' registrations due to their involvement in a drug trafficking operation, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) announced in a press release. A “key member” of the two exchanges was arrested and charged with importing, trafficking and possessing illegal substances. The man is believed to be responsible for running the operations of the criminal syndicate, using darknet sites and bitcoin accounts.

Due to the changes to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006, cryptocurrency exchanges are required to register with AUSTRAC. They also need to verify customer identity and report suspicious transactions. 

AUSTRAC National Manager for Regulatory Operations Dr Nathan Newman believes the exchanges have had sufficient time to assure compliance with new regulations. According to Newman, “It’s important that digital currency exchange providers meet their obligations so we can identify any instances of criminal activity using their services to launder money, fund terrorism or commit other serious crimes.”