The suspects were found to have traded stolen cryptocurrency on an underground exchange that emerged on the dark web following the Coincheck heist.
Tokyo police have arrested and charged 31 people in connection with the January 2018 Coincheck hack, which saw the theft of some USD 530 million (now worth USD 38 million) from the cryptocurrency exchange.
At the time, the theft prompted increased scrutiny over the cryptocurrency industry, including inspections at all crypto exchanges nationwide, the issuance of business improvement orders against those with poor internal controls and inadequate AML systems, and tighter rules to prevent similar incidents from occurring in future.
The individuals were arrested for allegedly exchanging more than JPY 10 billion (based on January 2018 rates) worth of NEM cryptocurrency for other digital currencies despite knowing the assets had been stolen, according to local reports.
The suspects, whose identities have not been disclosed, are residents of Japan from 13 different prefectures who were found to have been involved in trading on an underground exchange that emerged on the dark web following the Coincheck heist.
However, the individuals were traced back to “conventional” crypto exchanges, which they tried to use to cash out of the stolen NEM.
The police say they will soon conclude their probe into individuals exchanging stolen NEM.
In March 2020, two other individuals, identified as Masaki Kitamoto and Takayoshi Doi, were also arrested for trading in NEM stolen from Coincheck.
Kitamoto admitted wrongdoing, claiming to have stolen over USD 19 million from the Coincheck hack.