• 17 July, 2024

Cambodian Conglomerate’s Platform Linked to $11B Crypto Fraud

A recent report from Elliptic Research details an analysis of the Huione Guarantee, an online marketplace. The Huione Group, which operates Huione Guarantee, is part of a larger Cambodian conglomerate. It is allegedly involved in facilitating cyber scams across Southeast Asia, with a particular emphasis on “pig butchering” scams. These are deceitful schemes where individuals are manipulated into fraudulent investment opportunities, leading to significant financial losses. 

Services Supporting Cyber Scams

The platform is purported to offer various services and products that support these scams. This includes software for fake investment sites, personal data for targeting potential victims, and tools used to control individuals forced to work in scam compounds.

Role of Huione Guarantee in Fraudulent Transactions

Huione Guarantee functions as an escrow or guarantor for transactions, primarily conducted in the USDT stablecoin. Despite claims of neutrality, evidence suggests that the platform is a hotspot for transactions related to cyber fraud, particularly those operated by organized crime groups from China, often based in special economic zones in Southeast Asia.

Source: Elliptic

The online marketplace hosts a variety of merchants who provide services ranging from money laundering to the sale of telecom and AI technologies. These merchants facilitate the transfer and laundering of money obtained from scams, help build scam websites, and sell equipment like electric batons and shock shackles, purportedly used in scam compounds.

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Source: Elliptic

Financial Scale of the Fraud

The report estimates that Huione Guarantee and its merchants have handled transactions worth over $11 billion since 2021. This includes payments for goods and services directly linked to fraud and other illegal activities.

Political Connections and Links to Cambodia’s Ruling Family

The broader Huione Group, which includes other businesses like Huione Pay and has connections to prominent political figures in Cambodia, is implicated in these operations. Not only does it provide the infrastructure for Huione Guarantee, but one of its subsidiaries also actively participates in laundering scam proceeds.

The report also notes connections between the Huione Group and Cambodia’s ruling family, specifically mentioning a link to Hun To, who is a cousin of the current Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Manet. Hun To has been suspected of engaging in illicit activities, including money laundering and involvement with organized crime.

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