Chinese police said they arrested 63 people suspected of helping local and foreign criminal groups launder the equivalent of $1.7 billion in crypto in a massive operation across the country.

Police say they initially spotted an “abnormal flow” of money in a suspect’s trading account, who allegedly moved over 10 million yuan (~$1.5 million) each month.

The group allegedly converted the funds into Tether stablecoin and then recruited new people from around the world to open crypto accounts and help launder the funds.

Between 2017 and 2021, cybercriminals laundered more than $33 billion in crypto. Last year, about $8.6 billion was laundered — a 30% increase in money laundering activity over 2020.

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