Cypriot Agency Sees Rise in Suspicious Crypto Transactions

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in Cyprus is expecting a rise in Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) for cryptocurrencies following the island’s adopted regulations for the digital asset industry. The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) introduced the directives to regulate the activities of Crypto Asset Service Providers (CASPs) in 2021.

The First Report from the Cypriot FIU

According to the first Strategic Analysis Report for 2020 and 2023 published by the Cypriot FIU, MOKAS, 27 cases of suspicious transactions with cryptocurrencies were submitted in 2022, much higher than 20 and 19 in the previous two consecutive years, respectively.

The report highlighted the money laundering and terrorist financing trends and patterns, which involved cryptocurrencies, fraud, corruption, tax evasion, and human and narcotics trafficking.

“This report covers trends and common practices identified in STRs and SARs received from reporting entities during 2020-2022, Requests and Spontaneous Disclosures from foreign FIU’s as well as Requests from Cyprus Police Authorities and from the Cyprus Customs and Excise Department,” the report stated.

Cryptocurrencies have remained a primary focus of the report, highlighting that digital currencies are the primary payment mode in dark mode. Criminals are further concealing the origin of cryptocurrencies using mixers.

Fraud Is on the Rise

Furthermore, the agency witnessed an increasing trend in fraud from the suspicious reports submitted to it. According to the numbers, 242 incidents were reported in 2022, while the figures were 259 and 334, respectively.

“Such increase can be explained partly due to the increasing instances of internet fraud. Over the past years, new technologies have made it easier for scammers to operate,” the report stated, adding: “Α significant decrease in the suspicious transaction reports submitted in relation to fraud was observed during 2022. However, according to data thus far for 2023, the number of submitted reports is expected to rise, in line with the upward trend that was observed during the years from 2018 to 2021.”

This article was written by Arnab Shome at www.financemagnates.com.

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