Europol, the EU law agency, cracked down on Vitae, a Belgian Ponzi scheme. Europol raided 17 locations related to the website, promoted as a social media site with its own cryptocurrency. The company operated in Switzerland under the name VITAE AG. Law enforcement officials recovered €1.1 million in cash and €1.5 million in cryptocurrency during this action.
Europol Shuts Vitae Down
Europol took action against a group of individuals that used the Vitae platform to run an alleged Ponzi scheme. The European law enforcement agency coordinated the actions with the Belgian Federal Judicial Police under the jurisdiction of the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office to organize a joint criminal investigation. This joint force raided 17 houses related to the case, mainly in Antwerp, West Flanders, and Limburg. According to reports, Swiss police conducted other searches.
Five people were arrested for their alleged participation in the Vitae scheme. Europol also closed the Vitae website and replaced it with a warning about the content of the site, now considered illegal according to Belgian legislation. The investigation was secret and few people knew about the raids, so the alleged criminals could not escape the action.
Vitae acted as a privacy-oriented social network with its own cryptocurrency token. The site was advertised as an earning platform for top posters, that would earn vitae token with quality content. The site had over 200,000 users. As a consequence of the action, the price of the Vitae token plummeted.
A Focus on the Digital Frontier
Europol and its associated agencies have expressed their worries about digital crimes and their consequences. In a newly emitted report titled The Cyber Blue Line, the organism states their new focus lies in cyberspace. The report states:
The criminal abuse of encryption, an essential element of our digitalized democracies, and other privacy-enhancing technologies and designs have created an imbalance between privacy, security, and safety.
Cryptocurrency is said to be one of the many tools that cybercriminals use in their attempts to be undetected by police forces. Currently, hackers responsible for ransomware attacks use bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies as payments. This happened in the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack case last month. The report anticipates these kinds of cyberattacks will keep happening in the future.
Europol and other police organizations in the world are now turning their eyes to encryption and cryptocurrencies. As a consequence, regulators will also focus on these subjects in the future.
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