Investigations into digital currency encryption cases in Libya have revealed money laundering operations conducted outside official channels, sources at the Libyan Public Prosecution told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper.
The sources, who requested anonymity, stated that “mining operations were carried out through unlawful means, and the proceeds were invested both domestically and internationally.” Investigations are still ongoing in the incidents.
Security forces in western Libya have carried out campaigns against sites used for digital currency mining, which the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) has banned, since 2018.
Recently, the General Administration of Security Operations, under the Ministry of Interior, arrested a number of Chinese nationals and seized equipment used for mining digital currencies. This was during an inspection of a site used for metal smelting in Zliten.
The Attorney General’s office also announced the discovery of several sites used for digital currency mining in Tripoli and Misrata, and the arrest of ten Chinese expatriates at a site in Misrata.
The CBL has prohibited the use of digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, warning citizens of the security and economic risks of trading in these currencies.
This comes as these transactions have become more popular in recent times, amid worsening economic and living conditions for citizens and the increasing security chaos in the country.
The Central Bank stated that “virtual currencies like Bitcoin and others are illegal in Libya, and there is no legal protection for those who deal with them,” It pointed out the risks in the possibility of their use in criminal activities such as money laundering and terrorism financing.
Cryptocurrencies are subject to restrictions by monetary authorities in most countries, due to their extreme volatility and speculation, and their use in illegal activities.
Mining digital currencies is a complex and difficult process that consumes massive amounts of electricity. As well as requiring specialized equipment and programs, to decrypt codes and perform long calculations.