Police and tax authorities arrested 30 individuals in Spain for suspected money laundering and pirated TV content. Police said the suspects had six of the largest mining centers in Spain. Laundering revenue went into Bitcoin the Spanish authorities said, and the group of TV bootleggers also stole vast amounts of electricity to fund operations.
On May 25th Spanish police said thirty suspects were arrested across Córdoba, Málaga, Valencia, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca and Lugo for money laundering charges. The publication 20Minutos reports that mining centers were used to capitalize off the group’s laundering and pirated TV operations. Chief commissioner of the Specialist Crime Unit, Hector Moreno, said the digital currency was then cashed in for euros and used in the real world for purchases such as luxury cars, and properties.
Spanish police did not detail the full extent of the money laundering through these mining centers. The suspects used many different methods of pirating pay-TV content and sold them to private customers such as hotels and restaurants. Authorities did confiscate 31,320 euros worth of Bitcoin, cash, mining machines, a small aircraft, and luxury vehicles. Task force police told the press the group acquired quite a bit of physical goods throughout the operations, and police seized an abundance of criminal evidence. 20Minutos quotes:
“Agents have seized six centers of “mining” bitcoin, 48,800 decoders, 183,200 euros in cash, 78.3 bitcoins (with a value of 31,320 euros), 10 luxury cars, 4 motorcycles, an aircraft, banking and accounting documents and computer material.”
Officials say the group had a complex business network dedicated to distributing television signal decoders. The thirty detainees were involved with the distribution of the decoders, mining operations, and anti-money laundering charges. Europol has been involved with the investigation and police say, “The total earnings are still underway” Bitcoin is legal in Spain, but the digital currency is still under the Spanish Anti-Money Laundering Act when it comes to criminal investigations.