French police smash illegal Bitcoin trading ring

Jul 07, 2014
French police say they have smashed an illegal Bitcoin trading network, seizing virtual currency worth 200,000 euros in Europe's first such operation

French police said Monday they had smashed an illegal Bitcoin trading network, seizing virtual currency worth 200,000 euros ($272,000) in the first such operation in Europe.

Two people have been charged and are in custody following raids last week in the French southern cities of Nice, Cannes and Toulouse and in Brussels that led to the seizure of 388 Bitcoins.

"This is the first time that an illegal exchange platform for Bitcoins like this one has been dismantled in Europe," a police statement said.

The two men charged are a 27-year-old Tunisian who ran the website trading in Bitcoins and his suspected accomplice, a 36-year-old Frenchman.

Virtual currencies, most famously Bitcoin, have come under increasing scrutiny by financial regulators as their popularity has grown.

Launched in 2009 by a mysterious computer guru, Bitcoin is a form of cryptography-based e-money that offers a largely anonymous payment system.

Backers say virtual currencies allow for an efficient and anonymous way to store and transfer funds online.

But regulators argue the lack of legal framework governing the currency, the opaque way it is traded and its volatility make it dangerous.

In France, platforms that exchange Bitcoins and euros have to be approved by the ACPR, the bank and insurance supervisory body.

Police found that the website run by the two suspects had not been authorised by the ACPR, and charged them with undeclared work and illegally acting as a banker.

The Tunisian suspect was also charged with money laundering.

Explore further: Venture capitalist wins US bitcoin auction

Related Stories

Venture capitalist wins US bitcoin auction

Jul 02, 2014

A California venture capitalist announced Wednesday he won the US government auction of bitcoins, and plans to use them to help emerging economies that are "hamstrung by weak currencies."

Bitcoin rises above $1,000

Nov 27, 2013

The virtual currency bitcoin Wednesday broke above $1,000 per unit, quintupling in a month, according to Mt. Gox, which manages trading in bitcoin.

China online marketplace Taobao to ban Bitcoins

Jan 08, 2014

China's largest online marketplace, Alibaba Group's Taobao, said Wednesday that it would ban the trading of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies from January 14, after a government crackdown on the units.

Recommended for you

New approach to online compatibility

Jun 30, 2015

Many of the online social networks match users with each other based on common keywords and assumed shared interests based on their activity. A new approach that could help users find new friends and contacts with a greater ...

Most internet anonymity software leaks users' details

Jun 29, 2015

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are legal and increasingly popular for individuals wanting to circumvent censorship, avoid mass surveillance or access geographically limited services like Netflix and BBC ...

WikiLeaks says NSA spied on French business

Jun 29, 2015

WikiLeaks has released documents that it says show that the U.S. National Security Agency eavesdropped on France's top finance officials and high-stakes French export bids over a decade in what the group called targeted economic ...

Google gets extended deadline to answer EU case

Jun 29, 2015

Brussels has given Google an extension until mid-August to answer an anti-trust case alleging that the tech giant abuses its search engine's market dominance, a company spokesman said Monday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.