New Zealand law enforcement had $45,000 in Bitcoin It was stolen by criminals during an unsuccessful operation targeting money laundering service operators.
According to the newspaper NZ HeraldThe investigators’ goal was to hire the services of the perpetrators to locate and apprehend them.
The amount of bitcoin was bought by the same police at the end of last year for use in a “controlled purchase” – when officials try to buy illegal goods or services.
However, the operation failed, and the police not only lost $45,000 in bitcoin, but also failed to identify the criminals or the whereabouts of the stolen cryptocurrency.
The authorities did not provide details of the case, but the most likely scenario is that the money laundering service request was not fulfilled by the contracting party that disappeared in the cryptocurrency without leaving a trace.
According to Detective Stewart Mills of the New Zealand National Police’s Organized Crime Group, the crime was part of a “wider fraud targeting bitcoin wallets” and that the criminals were most likely outsiders.
“The police are committed to learning from this incident and introducing stronger operations so that it does not happen again,” the investigator told the publication.
In search of officials
Inspector Mills emphasized that the senior officers had authorized the operation in accordance with standard police procedures and that, initially, no inappropriate behavior by the team was found.
However, an internal review determined that some procedural loopholes failed to protect funds held by authorities. The investigator in charge of the case became the target of a criminal investigation by the police to investigate his actions and the reason for the failure of the operation.
After the incident, the authorities also committed to reviewing local police policies and proposing new proposals already under consideration.