Israeli authorities have arrested three individuals suspected of defrauding the French state treasury. The undercover investigation was carried out jointly by the Israel police and the Israel Tax Authority over the last few months. Foreign investigative agencies – Europol and the French Police – also cooperated.
As per Reuters, the investigators are looking into a potential “large-scale fraud” that they believe was committed against the state treasury in France. The crime, however, may have been conducted in Israel.
In addition to stealing millions of euros, the authorities suspect that the perpetrators have laundered the funds by converting them into crypto assets.
The estimated stolen funds stand at around tens of millions of shekels. Furthermore, the profits raked in from crypto activity may have been concealed from the Israel Tax Authority.
Under Israel’s tax regime, the sale of crypto is typically subject to capital gains tax, up to 33%.
On the other hand, if the activity amounts to a business income tax, it may go as high as 50%.
In a joint statement, the authorities stated,
“Several suspects organized themselves in an orderly and systematic way to launder money from abroad and from Israel, some of which originated from crimes committed abroad, using digital currencies on various platforms with the aim of disguising the identity of the owners of the funds and their movements.”
Along with the three main arrested, several other suspects have been detained for questioning on suspicion of committing money laundering, fraud, and tax offenses, as well as the willful omission of income.
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