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Sydney Police Arrests Local for Running an Unregistered Cryptocurrency Exchange

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Australia ASIC Australian
Australia ASIC Australian

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In Australia, law enforcement agents have arrested a woman who they suspect to have run an illegal crypto exchange in the country.

According to a recent report from The Daily Mail Australia, they apprehended the woman at a shopping mall in Burwood — a suburb of Sydney. She had reportedly been running her operation for years, with millions in cryptocurrency successfully laundered.

A Long Track Record

The Sydney police didn’t give the woman’s name. However, reports about her arrest have been extensive. As The Daily Mail explained, 52-year-old has been operating the unregistered exchange since 2017. Estimates reveal that she has helped conduct over AU$5 million ($3.23 million) in transactions in her three years of operation.

The police seized $60,000 in cash, as well as 3.8 BTC (worth about $37,000 at press time) and a mobile phone after searching her vehicle and handbag. The police commander also sent a unit to her home in Hurtsville. They found computers, mobile phones, and various types of electronic storage devices – as well as another stash of Bitcoin worth $18,200.

Law enforcement has been running an investigation since the beginning of 2018. They eventually charged her with three counts of knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime and breaching the requirements for operating a digital currency exchange. However, she also posted bail and is set to appear before a judge on July 20.

Speaking on the case, Detective Superintendent Matt Craft, the commander of the police’s Cybercrime squad, said:

“This is the first arrest executed by Cybercrime Squad detectives relating to non-compliant digital currency providers in New South Wales — and is believed to be the first of its kind across Australia.”

He added a note of warning to crypto criminals across the country, assuring them that their actions won’t go without notice.

Relief from Tax Obligations

While it is alarming that crypto crime has gotten to places like Australia, this case could also be an encouraging sign. For one, it shows that there’s a community of crypto enthusiasts who are making transactions with the digital currency regularly.

Thankfully, the country has developed some proper legal frameworks to ensure seamless operation within the industry. In March, a spokesperson for the Australia Tax Office (ATO) confirmed that the agency was looking to ensure investors across the county comply with its tax guidelines.

The guidelines themselves were instituted last year, and they confirmed that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are taxable items. The agency primarily uses the Data Matching Protocol for Cryptocurrency, a program, to track transactions across local exchanges to determine investors’ tax obligations.

However, this strict surveillance could be another reason why illegal exchanges like the Sydney woman have been able to thrive. They provide a means for making transactions freely and without government oversight, thus taking away the tax burden.

The ATO spokesperson said in part that many traders have failed to keep transaction records – a problem that has led to omission errors in tax returns filings.

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