Outlaw cryptos? – Bruno Le Maire was the guest of the program “Dimanche en politique” on October 18. During his speech, the Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery notably mentioned the assassination of Samuel Paty , a professor working in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. This event indeed raised many questions in terms of security on French territory.
Opportunism or real commitment?
The drama that occurred last week is still very much in people’s minds. It was indeed perpetrated on French territory and did not require any hidden source of funding .
Bruno Le Maire believes that today there are too many irregularities concerning the financial flows that pass through France. According to him, this blind spot can potentially be used to fuel terrorist organizations . More specifically, the minister wants to tighten the regulation of Crypto Bull, something which had already been frankly started in 2018. As cryptos do not physically exist, this facilitates their transfer across borders.
Through his statements, the minister indirectly alluded to Kepler and Digycode. These 2 French companies were recently cited for their hijacking by jihadist networks. These underground networks had thus benefited from largesse in check during the purchase and receipt of vouchers of bitcoins in tobacconists for transit money to the Iraqi-Syrian area and spend (temporarily ) under speed cameras.
Bitcoin, the ideal culprit
The minister describes this process as surprisingly easy:
„You can ask for 150 euros in a tobacco bar, then 150 euros in another and, at the end of the day, collect a large sum of 1,500 euros, which an Islamist association or a fighter located abroad can withdraw in liquid abroad without any trace. “
First, it is not that easy to get hold of this type of coupon. Kepler and Digycode are companies that produce a financial service. These are therefore subject to strict regulation , comparable to that of banks.
In concrete terms, an identity verification (KYC) is carried out at each checkout, regardless of the amount in cryptocurrency. If criminals were able to obtain coupons with such ease, it is because they were not identified as potentially dangerous … at least according to the databases integrated into the verification process in question at the time.
Moreover, cryptocurrencies are far from being a representative example in terms of irregularity. The FinCEN Files have effectively shown what the real limits are in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The document reports more than 2,000 reports of suspicious activity , incriminating commercial banks, such as Société Générale , and whose damage would amount to several billion euros. Such sums of money could not be embezzled via cryptocurrencies.