The US Department of Justice has charged 14 people with participating in a group engaged in money laundering using cryptocurrencies. Europol has made arrests of the accused in several European countries.
We are talking about the QQAAZZ group, which, according to the US Department of Justice, has been operating since 2016 and has links with the largest hacker groups that distribute encryption viruses. Among them are the groups behind the Dridex, Trickbot and GozNym botnets. QQAAZZ used Russian-language hacker forums to advertise its services.
To carry out their activities, members of the group used a large network of bank accounts, front persons and fake companies. Funds were transferred to these bank accounts, repeatedly moved between different accounts, and then transferred to cryptocurrency and sent to hackers.
The management of QQAAZZ was mainly engaged in communication with customers, the middle level hired couriers, and couriers, if necessary, cashed money at ATMs. For their services, the group took from 40% to 50% of the amount of laundered funds.
As part of the international operation “2bagoldmule”, Europol conducted searches in 40 households located in Latvia, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Spain and Italy. More than 20 arrests were made. Also in October 2019, five more members of QQAAZZ were arrested in Latvia.
Earlier, the US Department of Justice conducted Operation disruptor, in which $6.5 million in cryptocurrency and fiat currency was confiscated from smugglers and operators of drug-selling sites on the darknet.