Carabinieri and Young Platform in collaboration

For the first time, the cryptocurrencies seized from a criminal organization, then brought to justice, have been converted into fiat currencies thanks to the collaboration between the main Italian exchange Young Platform and the Carabinieri.

Let’s see below all the details. 

The partnership between the Carabinieri and the Italian crypto exchange Young Platform against financial crime

As anticipated, the first successful conversion of confiscated cryptocurrencies to fiat currency has been completed.

This pioneering initiative highlights a remarkable step forward in the collaboration between the cryptocurrency sector and public institutions. It also represents a key moment in the fight against illicit activities.

The Carabinieri Anti-Counterfeiting Monetary Command, the Department of Justice, and the Single Justice Fund (FUG) have worked with Young Platform. That is the main Italian cryptocurrency exchange to carry out this unique operation.

The process, completed in January 2023, is the result of a thorough investigation and legal coordination involving Eurojust and the support of Europol. 

The operation led to the arrest of 31 individuals, eight of whom are in pre-trial detention, on the order of the Preliminary Investigations Judge of the Naples Court. The charge is criminal association aimed at counterfeiting currency trafficking.

This operation is part of a broader investigation, started in July 2018, aimed at dismantling a criminal organization rooted in Naples and active internationally with branches in several European and non-European countries.

The investigations, conducted with the help of sophisticated computer technologies, have revealed the methods of distribution of counterfeit currency by a seller active on marketplaces since 2012. 

He used anonymous methods to handle cryptocurrency payments. After the arrests, large amounts of cryptocurrency were seized, including Bitcoin (BTC) and Monero (XRM).

The criminal network used the dark web and messaging platforms like Telegram to sell counterfeit banknotes in exchange for cryptocurrencies. The confiscated cryptocurrencies have been transferred to wallets managed by the Carabinieri Anti-counterfeiting Monetary Command. 

A new model of public-private collaboration

Subsequently, Young Platform was appointed as an auxiliary of the judicial police to convert cryptocurrencies into fiat currency and transfer them to the Single Justice Fund (FUG). 

This public-private collaboration, involving law enforcement, judicial authorities, and a cryptocurrency exchange, is unprecedented in Italy. 

Young Platform aspires to be a model for other exchanges and companies in the sector, demonstrating how it is possible to collaborate proactively with authorities, even in a context of strict regulatory control.

The uniqueness of this operation lies not only in its positive outcome and pioneering nature, but also in demonstrating the effectiveness of collaboration between law enforcement and new financial technologies. 

Despite cryptocurrencies are often perceived as tools for illicit activities, their intrinsic transparency can prove to be an ally in the fight against crime. 

The blockchain, as we know, records every transaction permanently. Allowing authorities to track financial flows with an unprecedented level of detail.

The operation led to the arrest in flagrante of 31 people and the dismantling of an underground printing press in Arzano, in the province of Naples. Another 50 suspects have been referred to the Judicial Authority for crimes related to currency trafficking. 

48 searches were carried out abroad and 19 in Italy, highlighting the breadth and complexity of the operation.

Some statements regarding collaboration

Lorenzo Palombi, legal consultant for Young Platform and of counsel at GDP Lex Studio in Rome, stated:

This operation underlines the positive role that financial technologies can have in society, creating an important precedent for future collaborations between the cryptocurrency sector and judicial authorities. Furthermore, it provides an operational model that can be used for similar initiatives in the future.”

Not by chance, this operational structure will be essential to standardize practices and ensure a coordinated and effective approach in the fight against financial crime.

The Cryptocurrencies Section of the Carabinieri Anti-Counterfeiting Monetary Command, which conducted this operation, demonstrates its ability to respond to the challenges posed by the digital evolution of financial markets. 

With specific tasks such as the analysis and contrast of the production and distribution of counterfeit currency, the Command plays a crucial role in the national and international security system, collaborating with community institutions and foreign police forces.

The goal is to establish a judicial practice that brings together public and private entities to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.

This approach aims to create an operational model that integrates financial and technological skills with law enforcement intelligence strategies.

Andrea Ferrero, CEO and co-founder of Young Platform, concludes:

This collaboration between Young Platform and the Carabinieri Command demonstrates how new technologies can be an integral part of the fight against crime.”

Although cryptocurrencies can be used for illicit purposes, their potential to bring benefits to society is significant. 

Ferrero mentioned “The Chainalysis 2024 Crypto Crime Report”, in which the percentage of illicit volumes associated with cryptocurrencies in 2023 was 0.34%, showing a steady decline since 2019.