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Nexo’s Office in Bulgaria Raided on Suspected Money Laundering and Tax Crimes

Crypto lender Nexo’s office in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia has been raided by local police on suspicion of money laundering and tax evasion offenses.

More than 300 police officers, prosecutors, and national security agents are involved in the operation, a spokeswoman for Bulgaria’s chief prosecutors Siyka Mileva said in a statement.

According to Mileva, Bulgarian authorities are investigating whether Nexo committed money laundering and tax crimes, as well as other offenses related to unlicensed banking activities.

“Active investigation actions are underway in the capital to neutralize the illegal criminal activity of the Nexo crypto bank,” said Mileva. Nexo has been known for offering yields of up to 15% to depositors. Crypto lenders like Celsius, Voyager Digital, Hodlnaut, and others had also been known for luring in investors with yields from 10% to 20%. All of them have gone bankrupt or shut down.

Some independent research suggests that Nexo even forced its employees and their relatives to sign up for the lending program in order to keep its business going. These reports have not been confirmed.

Nexo Denies Any Wrongdoings

But Nexo denies all of the accusations brought by the Bulgarian authorities. Nexo co-founder and managing partner Antoni Trenchev said that the allegations are “absurd”.

“The allegations are absurd — we are one of the most stringent entities with regards to KYC/AML,” he said. Nexo as a company also released a statement following the reports of a police raid. The lender said on Twitter that because of the current environment in the crypto industry, regulators have adopted the “kick first, ask questions later approach”.

“Unfortunately, with the recent regulatory crackdown on crypto, some regulators have recently adopted the kick first, ask questions later approach. In corrupt countries, it is bordering with racketeering, but that too shall pass,” the company said. Nexo also said that though its AML and KYC operations are automated, the lender has over 30 employees working to ensure compliance. According to the company, bad actors wanting to use crypto to launder money or do other shady things are faced with more scrutiny and transparency than in traditional finance.

“Crypto is actually terrible for illicit purposes – using Chainalysis, for example, we know the history of the asset while it is being deposited and have a good understanding of the address to which it is withdrawn. This is more difficult with fiat and requires other techniques,” Nexo said. However, the company did not address any of the allegations brought by Bulgarian authorities.

“We are always cooperating with the relevant authorities and regulators, and we are hopeful that we will have some exciting news in the weeks to come,” Nexo ended its Twitter thread.

On the Flipside

  • Bulgarian authorities are still investigating and have yet to officially press charges.
  • There’s no information on whether any Nexo executives have been arrested.

Why You Should Care

Nexo is one of the last-standing major crypto lenders. Even if it doesn’t fall, it’s safe to say that the crypto lending experiment has failed. As for Nexo users, they should consider withdrawing their assets from Nexo just in case.

Source: Inves Ting