Malaysia Going after Cryptocurrency Crimes

Malaysian authorities are investigating several crimes involving cryptocurrencies and sending police officers on educational courses to improve their crime-fighting skills.

Malaysian authorities are looking into five cases involving cryptocurrencies while local police are honing their skills to combat cybercrimes and digital currency scams and frauds.

Malaysian police inspector-general Mohamad Fuzi Harun said:

“The Commercial Crime Department director Amar Singh Ishar Singh [is] sending his men on courses to enhance their skills in investigating cyber crimes.”

However, Harun would not divulge details of the investigation or the identities of the people involved, including the amount lost by the victims.

Amar Singh said Bank Negara was helping with the investigation, adding:

“We [are] also going on courses with Bank Negara to understand better how the crime works and to deal with it. It is a new type of crime.”

There are at least four cryptocurrency exchange operators granted licenses in Malaysia, including Luno and Pinkexc of London.

Cryptos become targets of criminals

A joint study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and McAfee has found that cybercriminals are targeting cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin for various illegal activities because of the anonymity associated with the coins. The study showed that virtual currencies are being used by criminals to launder money, as well as pay for services and raise funds.

Steve Grobman, chief technology officer of McAfee, commented:

“The digital world has transformed almost every aspect of our lives, including risk and crime, so that crime is more efficient, less risky, more profitable and has never been easier to execute… Add to these factors cryptocurrencies that ease rapid monetization, while minimizing the risk of arrest, and you must sadly conclude that the $600 billion cybercrime figure reflects the extent to which our technological accomplishments have transformed the criminal economy as dramatically as they have every other portion of our economy.”

Malaysia not keen on banning digital currency

Malaysia is considered one of the crypto-friendly regimes in Asia. Industry insiders place the average trading of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Malaysia at a conservative $20 million.

In January this year, Malaysian deputy finance minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said the government was not putting in place any plan to ban digital currency trading. Johari added that such a ban was not in the best interest of Malaysia as it would hinder development and innovations in the fintech and financial industries.

He was quoted as saying:

“It is not the intention of the authorities to ban or put a stop to any innovation that is perceived to be beneficial to the public.”

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