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Refugee ‘crypto millionaire’ faces Swiss money laundering probe

Bitcoin investors have been able to make huge gains, but can also suffer losses, with the volatile digital currency. Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Swiss prosecutors have launched a money laundering investigation against a refugee who claims to have made millions from cryptocurrency trading.

This content was published on May 20, 2022 - 16:29
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Dadvan Yousuf, 22, generated media headlines last year with his rags-to-riches story since fleeing to Switzerland with his family from Iraq at the age of three.

Yousuf told reporters that he had made millions from buying bitcoin and was setting up an educational foundation in Switzerland to educate others about cryptocurrency opportunities.

The Dohrnii Foundation was established in Switzerland in March 2021 and crypto tokens were sold to the public, which are designed to be used on a related educational platform.

But the Swiss financial regulator intervened after it suspected the foundation of having violated regulations relating to the sale of securities and accepting deposits from the public without the necessary license.

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) appointed a lawyer to run the affairs of the foundation while the investigation is underway.

In a latest twist, public prosecutors in canton Bern told Swiss public broadcaster SRFExternal link that they are investigating Yousuf for suspected fraud and money laundering offences.

Prosecutors say they were alerted by the Money Laundering Reporting Office Switzerland and by federal police.

Yousuf’s lawyer told the SRF investigative reporting team that his client was unaware of the criminal probe and gave no further comment.

Switzerland has earned the name ‘Crypto Nation’ for the rapid expansion of its cryptocurrency and blockchain business sector.

The number of domestic blockchain companies, including many crypto foundations, has risen from 300 in 2017 to around 1,200, employing more than 6,000 staffExternal link.

The nascent industry has received broad support from politicians and regulators, but it hasn’t always been plain sailing.

The most notable setbacks have included proceedings against the collapsed crypto mining company Envion, a damaging public row over the creation of the Tezos FoundationExternal link and the sudden exit of the Diem cryptocurrency project from Switzerland.

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