October 19, 2023
By Sharan Kaur Phillora
In a unique cross-border collaboration, London-based financial crime investigation firm Intelligent Sanctuary (iSanctuary) has partnered with several cryptocurrency exchanges in Singapore to crack down on a money laundering case involving an estimated US$3 million of stolen digital assets.
Here’s what we know:
The case, which sprawls across multiple nations, including Spain, Ireland, Britain, and other European countries, is believed to have been orchestrated by fraudsters purported to be from Singapore. Over five cryptocurrency exchanges in the region actively cooperate with iSanctuary to trace and reclaim the stolen assets.
Jonathan Benton, Founder and CEO of iSanctuary, revealed that his team was able to locate the stolen assets within a mere 24 hours following the incident. They swiftly moved to secure a worldwide freezing order through the Singapore High Court within a week of the discovery. In an innovative legal maneuver, the freezing order was issued as a non-fungible token (NFT), which was served to the private wallet of the alleged hackers.
The unique employment of NFT technology, in this case, is hailed as a game-changer in financial crime investigation. The public nature of the NFT allows anyone interacting with the wallet, including cryptocurrency exchanges, to readily access the court documents and verify the wallet’s association with the stolen funds. This drastically cuts down the time required to freeze assets, which could be thwarted or delayed using traditional methods due to the anonymous or false addresses associated with crypto wallets.
Benton, a former head of Britain’s international corruption unit and criminal finance at the Metropolitan Police Service, expressed that this innovative approach enables a quicker reaction to policing the blockchain, identifying holders of illicit assets, and serving civil or criminal orders. By bridging the collaborative efforts of crypto exchanges in Singapore and financial crime investigators in London, this case sets a precedent for international cooperation in the face of rising crypto-related financial crimes.
About the author
Sharan Kaur Phillora’s thirst for knowledge has led her to study many different subjects, including NFTs and Blockchain technology – two emerging technologies that will change how we interact with each other in the future. When she isn’t exploring a new idea or concept, she enjoys reading literary masterpieces.