On May 31, Greek authorities, in collaboration with Dutch Police and Europol, arrested a notorious figure accused of laundering vast sums of money for international criminals. The man, operating primarily in the Netherlands, is suspected to have run a criminal organisation laundering millions of euros monthly.
The Operational Taskforce TOKEN Strikes
This arrest was facilitated by the Operational Taskforce TOKEN, established by Europol to tackle underground banking networks globally. The man is believed to have played a pivotal role in these clandestine networks, often operating unnoticed by law enforcement agencies.
The Significance of Underground Banking Networks
Recent takedowns of encrypted communication tools, namely Encrochat, Sky ECC, and ANOM, have underscored the importance of underground banking in the criminal landscape. These networks are integral to organised crime, facilitating the movement of large sums of illicit money.
These networks trade, transfer, or convert vast amounts of cash into cryptocurrency. This money, often linked to the drug trade, is used to fund new shipments, pay for previous ones, or transferred internationally. Underground bankers are key players in this process, enabling daily financial operations for organised crime networks across the globe.
Europol’s Efforts and International Cooperation
Recognising the international scale of these criminal activities, Dutch Police have partnered with Europol to combat underground banking.
In 2022, Europol set up the Operational Taskforce TOKEN, comprising law enforcement personnel from numerous countries, including the Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Australia, the UK, and the US. This team also includes specialists from Europol’s European Financial and Economic Crime Centre.
As the work of this task force continues, more breakthroughs are expected in the fight against the world’s clandestine banking operations, spotlighting the importance of international collaboration in tackling complex criminal networks.