Are authorities in Australia starting to turn bearish on cryptocurrency as we enter a new year? The nation’s AML Agency ‘AUSTRAC’ has now revoked three of its previously issued licenses to cryptocurrency exchanges for alleged criminal ties.
AML Agency Cancels 3 Cryptocurrency Licenses
According to Australian news site itnews, the Australian AML Agency AUSTRAC has now revoked three licenses of cryptocurrency exchanges. This is due to alleged “criminal ties.”
Since the 2017 Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment Act was introduced, cryptocurrency exchanges in Australia are required to register with AUSTRAC.
While the licenses were actually canceled in September, the details have only now been officially released. They the first to be revealed by the agency since monitoring exchanges in Australia at the end of 2017.
Links to Organized Crime
Of the three cryptocurrency exchanges forced to shut down operations, two belong to AUSCOIN ATM and MK Buy & Sell. Both exchanges have been accused of having links to organized crime.
The suspensions happened shortly after the arrest of a 27-year-old Melbourne man on suspicion of trafficking drugs. He was later identified by The Age as “Lamborghini-driving bitcoin trader, Sam Karagiozis.”
The third exchange to have its license canceled was Howzat Domains, operated by Webpark. Currently, there appears to be no connection between the exchange and the charges against Karagiozis.
In addition to these exchanges, a further exchange operator, Cryptocurrency Transaction Machines, had also been suspended in November.
AUSTRAC could apparently not comment on the specific cases. However, according to a spokesperson, the Australian AML Agency has the right to suspend or cancel licenses or registrations if it believes there is any association with criminal activity.
AUSTRAC can suspend and/or cancel a registration if it is believed that a business or organization poses an unacceptable risk of money laundering, terrorism financing, or other serious crime. This includes where an individual associated with the business is charged and convicted of a money laundering, terrorism financing or other serious offenses.
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