Australian AML Agency AUSTRAC revoked three licenses of cryptocurrency exchanges for alleged criminal ties

In the middle of the time when the Chinese government was aggressively suppressing cryptocurrency trading activities. It seems that Australia is also starting to follow this trend. Specifically, the nation’s AML Agency ‘AUSTRAC’ has revoked three of its licenses to operate cryptocurrency exchanges in Australia on the grounds of alleged criminal ties.

AUSTRAC revokes three cryptocurrency exchanges licenses

According to a report from the news site itnews, the Australian AML Agency AUSTRAC has now revoked three operating licenses of three cryptocurrency exchanges operating in Australia. According to them, all three exchanges are related to criminal ties.

Despite canceling all three business licenses in September 2019, AML Agency AUSTRAC has so far not made any official and detailed announcement to the public.

In 2017, Australia released the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment Act. Therefore, cryptocurrency exchanges in Australia are required to register with AUSTRAC.

Are cryptocurrency exchanges in Australia involved in criminal activity?

Of the three cryptocurrency exchanges that were forced to shut down, two belong to Auscoin ATM and MK Buy & Sell. Both exchanges have been allegedly linked to organized crime.

The suspension came shortly after police arrested a 27-year-old man in Melbourne on suspicion of drug trafficking. He was later identified as ‘Lamborghini-driving Bitcoin trader, Sam Karagiozis.’


Sam Karagiozis, Auscoin founder (Image via TheAge)

The third exchange of cancellation of the license is Howzat Domains. This is a platform operated by Webpark. Currently, there seems to be no connection between the exchange and the charges against Karagiozis.

In addition to the three exchanges mentioned above, Cryptocurrency Transaction Machines were also suspended in November 2019.

AUSTRAC does not seem to be able to comment on specific cases. However, Australia’s AML Agency reserves the right to suspend or cancel a license or registration if it believes there is any connection to criminal activity.

AUSTRAC may suspend or cancel a platform’s license if it has sufficient reason to believe that the business or organization is at risk of money laundering, terrorist financing, or other serious crime.

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