Japanese police say money-laundering cases using digital currency or e-money payment services nearly tripled in 2019 from the previous year.
The National Police Agency says businesses offering e-money payment services reported a total of 3,913 suspected money-laundering cases last year. That’s an increase of 2,522 from 2018 and is 2.8 times the figure recorded a year earlier.
Some cases involved frequent transfers of money in a short time or to multiple accounts.
Others involved people called “money mules,” who are usually recruited by crime syndicates through online ads. The mules are instructed to receive funds through their bank accounts and send the money overseas.
Annual transactions using e-money payment services in Japan have climbed to more than 2.3 trillion yen, or about 22.5 billion dollars, as more people opt for cashless payments.
The police are working with the relevant agencies to crack down on this type of crime.