A new case has been registered in Pakistan, where the police have detained a number of people in the country’s first crypto extortion case. According to sources, the police detained the owner of the outhouse where the complainants, two foreign nationals, and two other criminals were taken hostage.
One of the accused was named as Rana Irfan Mahmood and a complaint against him and an unnamed accomplice was filed. The hostages were Swiss national Maria Spari and German citizen Stephen [last name remains unknown] who, along with another male, had been abducted by three men in police uniform.
After threatening captives with a bogus cocaine smuggling case, the victims paying 6.300 euros in cash and made an internet deposit of 1.8 bitcoin close to $9k. The perpetrators made a false video calling for an extra Rs 300 million [$1.91 million].
According to SSP Investigation Abdul Ghaffar Qaisrani, the police have managed to recover the amounts paid to the facilitator, aside from the Bitcoin. The crypto has now been moved to another account and the team has been helping the intelligence agencies to retrieve it.
While the regulators in Pakistan have taken notice of Bitcoin and blockchain, there has been increasing concern about illegal activities in the region. In November 2020, the Central Bank explained that it was not banning crypto, contrary to the prevalent fears of many in the crypto-community.
Indeed, Pakistan’s Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] released a report on the oversight of cryptocurrency trading platforms. This paper summarised the regulatory approach to crypto which contained the findings of the Financial Action Task Force [FATF] as well as the legislation presented by Malaysia, Hong Kong and the United States.
However, the country’s police have warned consumers and the government of rising cases of crypto-related kidnap and blackmail. Bitcoin has been at the forefront of these incidents, and such fraud practises can only give rise to fear with the lack of control among crypto users in the country.
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