Estonian authorities have identified crypto scammers among electronic residents of the country
Among foreigners using Estonia’s e-residency program, persons accused of cryptocurrency fraud abroad have been identified, writes Bloomberg.
According to the publication, this fact poses a threat to a state trying to get rid of the bad reputation it earned during one of the largest money laundering scandals in Europe..
Companies registered abroad and led by Estonian e-residents were involved in “several major exit scams,” police said. In addition, some e-residents have been linked to “suspicious initial coin offerings (ICOs) and large sums of money spent on such campaigns.”.
Since its launch in 2014, approximately 70,000 digital IDs have been assigned to citizens of 174 countries. Electronic residency is most popular among residents of Finland, Russia and Ukraine. Against the backdrop of high-profile cases of money laundering, the requirements of the program were tightened, and its participants began to more and more often close bank accounts or refuse to open them on the basis of insufficient business ties with Estonia.
“The investigation did not show that all the scammers were electronic residents, but among the scammers there were indeed electronic residents,” the police said, adding that “significant connections” of this kind carry serious reputational risks for the country’s cryptocurrency sector..
In June, it became known that the Estonian regulator revoked 500 licenses, or 30% of the total, from registered cryptocurrency companies. Estonia became one of the first countries in Europe to legalize crypto business. This happened in 2017. In less than 3 years, over 1,400 industry representatives have acquired legal status.
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