Chinese Gang Sentenced for Laundering Money with Digital Yuan

June 17, 2024

By Sharan Kaur Phillora

A criminal gang in China has been sentenced for laundering over 200,000 yuan ($27,580) using the nation’s central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital yuan. The case highlights the potential risks of money laundering with the new digital form of currency.

Here’s what we know:

The People’s Procuratorate of Yuecheng District in Shaoxing City, Zhejiang Province, handed down prison sentences ranging from 7 to 16 months for three members of the gang, according to local business publication Mpaypass. The gang members, identified only by their surnames Yuan, Zhang, and Kuo, conducted the illegal money laundering operations over a four-day period in mid-September in multiple cities across Zhejiang.

The scheme began when Yuan, who had come to Shaoxing looking for work, noticed an advertisement offering a 0.8% commission for helping cash out digital yuan holdings with local merchants. After initially working alone, he recruited Zhang and Kuo to assist, offering them a 0.5% cut.

They targeted merchants in cities like Shaoxing, Jinhua, Hangzhou, and Jiaxing, offering commissions of 1-1.5% to receive transfers of digital yuan from an unnamed “superior” and convert the funds into cash. The gang used encrypted overseas chat apps to communicate with this superior entity.

This isn’t the first instance of e-CNY misuse. In January 2023, Shanghai courts convicted eight individuals involved in a similar scheme, laundering over $1 million obtained through telecommunication fraud. These cases demonstrate that while the digital yuan boasts privacy features, Chinese authorities retain the ability to track and prosecute criminal activity.

The convictions serve as a warning to those considering exploiting the digital yuan for illegal purposes. China is actively developing its digital currency, and robust regulatory frameworks are being implemented to prevent misuse. This case highlights the ongoing challenges and adaptations necessary in the digital currency landscape.

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.

Translate Now