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United Nations Report: USDT Use in Money Laundering and Scams in Southeast Asia

UN identifies USDT as a means of payment for money laundering:

  1. UN identifies USDT as a major tool for money laundering and scams in Southeast Asia.
  2. Illegal online gambling platforms are among the main avenues for these fraudulent activities using USDT.
  3. Recent anti-money laundering operations have recovered significant amounts of USDT and cash.

USDT, a major fraud tool in Southeast Asia

A recent United Nations report has highlighted the growing use of USDT, a popular stablecoin, in money laundering and scams in Southeast Asia.

According to the Financial Times, this report indicates that online gambling platforms have become preferred channels for money laundering through USDT. The report also mentions the use of USDT in ‘romance scams,’ known as the ‘pig butchering’ scam.

Online gambling platforms, particularly those operating illegally, have become one of the most popular vehicles for cryptocurrency-based money launderers, especially those using Tether.

According to the UN report

The ‘pig butchering’ scam involves building a trusting relationship with a victim through dating platforms or social networks and then manipulating them into investing in cryptocurrencies or fraudulent platforms.

Authorities’ efforts to dismantle these criminal networks

Authorities have intensified their efforts to dismantle networks involved in the illicit transfer of funds in USDT. For example, an operation conducted in Singapore last August led to the dismantling of such a network, resulting in the seizure of approximately $735 million in cash and cryptocurrencies.

In addition, in November, Tether revealed its collaboration with the US Department of Justice in freezing about $225 million in USDT. These funds were held in external wallets associated with an international human trafficking group in Southeast Asia.

These actions underline the importance of international collaboration and regulatory measures to combat the fraudulent use of cryptocurrencies.

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