Two people accused of laundering about $384 million using a cryptocurrency exchange platform have been arrested, the Hong Kong regional government has said. The arrest of the two, a 28-year-old woman and her 21-year-old brother, followed a raid on their residential premises conducted by the Hong Kong Customs on December 28.
In a statement explaining the charges, the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region said action had been taken because the siblings had dealt “with property known or reasonably believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence” under the region’s Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance (OSCO).
The government’s statement also explains the investigative steps that had been taken prior to the arrests, noting:
[The] investigation revealed that the two arrested persons had opened personal accounts between May to November last year at various banks in Hong Kong (including virtual banks) and a cryptocurrency exchange trading platform, and engaged in suspected money laundering by dealing with money from unknown sources through bank transfers, cash deposits and cryptocurrency.
Meanwhile, the statement revealed that the two siblings had since been released on bail but it suggested that investigations will continue while the “likelihood of further arrests is not ruled out.”
Offenders Can Be Jailed for Maximum of 14 Years
Under the OSCO, a person is considered to have committed an offense “if he or she deals with any property knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe that such property in whole or in part directly or indirectly represents any person’s proceeds of an indictable offence.”
Those found guilty of this offense face a maximum jail sentence of 14 years plus a fine of $5 million, while the proceeds of their activities will be forfeited to the state, the statement said.