Last month, Bulgarian plumbers were called to clear a blocked drain at an apartment block in the capital of Sofia.
The blockage turned out to be the decomposing remains of 41-year-old United States crypto mogul Christian Peev — suspected to have been battered to death with a dumbbell by a friend out of jealousy.
Weeks earlier, a group of children stumbled across the body of missing cryptocurrency millionaire Fernando Pérez Algaba in a river in the Buenos Aries province. Police say he was shot three times before being stuffed into a suitcase, pointing the finger at organized crime.
It’s only the two most recent cases in a 10-month-long stretch of crypto-related deaths — including a helicopter crash in France, a fatal stabbing in the U.S., and a suspected suicide in South Korea, to name a few.
So, what’s connecting all of these grizzly deaths around the world?
Organized crime to blame
Ken Gamble, the co-founder and executive chairman of financial crime intelligence firm IFW Global, tells Magazine that many of these kinds of deaths are likely linked to the rise of organized crime and money laundering using crypto.
“Crypto-related crime has become bigger than ever before. And money laundering using cryptocurrency is now the number one way for every organized crime group on the planet.”
In May, Gamble’s organization took down a billion-dollar call center scam syndicate in Malaysia. His firm has investigated a number of criminal organizations across Asia and Europe over the years.
“What’s happening is that these organized crime groups, particularly the Chinese, have suddenly come into masses of money. They have had more money now than they’ve ever had traditionally,” said Gamble.
“They’re making so much money that it’s become extremely dangerous now […] they have to now reach out to more groups and more people to try and move the money — broadening their money laundering capabilities,” he added.
Gamble argues this has inevitably led to crypto holders getting mixed up with the wrong crowds.
Retribution for deals gone south