Romania: Crypto Payments May Have Helped Finance Organized Crime

  • Romanian authorities suspect that the country's "Rezist" movement may be involved in money laundering and other illicit activities such as money laundering.
  • Rezist's activities may have been financed by millions of dollars in digital currency payments, according to local authorities.

The Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) is reportedly conducting an investigation in order to determine which organizations may have financed “Rezist.”

Many Entities Suspected Of Being Involved In Organized Crime

According to MediaFax, Romanian authorities suspect that there might be organizations associated with the “Rezist” movement that are involved in money laundering and organized crime.

These organizations include Declic (a non-governmental organization, or NGO, that helps conduct protests in Romania’s capital, Bucharest), Funky Citizens, Oradea Civic, Rezistența TV, Just, VaVedem, and Corupția Ucide. Notably, DIICOT’s investigations have revealed that cryptocurrency addresses linked, or associated, with members of the “Rezist” movement received large amounts of incoming transfers.

Nearly $15 Million In Cryptocurrency Sent To Rezist Movement's Addresses

Specifically, a total of $14.9 million have reportedly been sent to crypto accounts tied to the “Rezist” movement in the past three years.

Moreover, Romania’s public prosecutor, who has been assigned to the investigation, revealed that all the crypto payments may have been sent by Poland’s Stefan Batory Foundation, an independent NGO set up by American philanthropist, George Soros. The foundation/NGO aims to “support the development of an open, democratic society in Poland along with other Central and East European countries.”

Nationwide protests in Romania had started in January of 2017, and they involved the country’s citizens expressing their strong disapproval of legislation which could have made it easier for politicians to potentially engage in corrupt practices.

Protests May Have Been Funded With Illicit Funds

However, DIICOT stated that the illicit activity and large digital currency payments received by members of the Rezist movement may not be linked to protests that occurred earlier in 2017. Instead, Romanian officials suspect the protests that occurred in August, which involved an anti-government rally in Bucharest, may have been financed by illicit sources.

The August 2018 protests reportedly included a large number of Romanian citizens that were engaged in activities abroad, and had returned home to support the countrywide anti-government demonstrations.

Notably, there were many confrontations between police officials and protestors, some of which turned violent. However, it was often difficult to determine who instigated them.

403 Incoming Transactions, Each Valued At An Average Of $37,000

One of the primary motives behind the protests was to demand that Viorica Dancilă, the nation’s social democrat prime minister, step down from her position. As mentioned, officials assigned to investigating the protests believe that the August 10 2018 protests were funded by the large crypto transfers received by Rezist movement’s members.

Out of a total 403 transactions that authorities managed to trace, the average amount sent per transaction was about $37,000. According to local sources, this amount is more than enough to fund a large protest in Romania.