Malaysian police have swooped on what they suspect to be an illegal, international USDT-powered crypto exchange.
Forty people were arrested.
The exchange was allegedly allowing Mainland Chinese citizens to trade USDT for cash.
Per the Malaysian media outlet Oriental Daily, the bust was co-conducted by the police’s commercial crime investigation team and the National Financial Crime Center.
Officers claimed they have completely dismantled the “exchange,” which it also suspects of providing “illegal online gambling” services.
Detectives said they had been investigating the suspected exchange for some time.
They said that the exchange had systematically “converted money received” from China into USDT.
It then allegedly “transferred the tokens back to [individuals in] China.”
Officers claimed to have found evidence that the group “carried out cryptocurrency exchange activities” in Malaysia “without permission.”
Under Malaysian law, all crypto-related firms must register their activities with regulators.
Crypto firms that fail to obtain operating permits are subject to punishment.
Earlier this month, the nation’s Securities Commission ordered Huobi Global to halt operations in Malaysia.
The commission ordered Huobi Global to disable its website and mobile apps on marketplaces like Apple Store and Google Play.
Many Chinese citizens’ appetite for crypto is thought to remain strong, despite the nation’s ban on crypto buying.
Malaysia: Where Did Suspected Crypto Exchange Operators Come From?
Malaysian police units raided multiple addresses simultaneously, with both male and female suspects detained.
The police issued a statement explaining that the suspects were “aged between 20 and 58.”
The suspects were described as hailing from Malaysia, along with “15 men and six women from China.”
At least one Singaporean man was also arrested.
Officers said they had seized 88 mobile phones, cash including $5,000 worth of USD.
They also confiscated gold bars, cars, luxury watches, handbags, and “assorted gold jewelry.”
Detectives added that the exchange also operated a “gambling syndicate” for mainly Taiwanese customers.
Police suspect the suspects of allowing Chinese individuals to use “money mule” bank accounts to exchange chips that could be used on “online gambling platforms.”
Prosecutors want to charge the suspects with money laundering, gambling, and crypto-related offenses.