Cartier jewelry heir arrested for laundering drug money with USDT

The US Justice Department (DoJ) has indicted and arrested an heir to the Cartier jewelry empire with conspiring to launder the proceeds of drug trafficking using tether (USDT).

In Miami, law enforcement arrested Maximilien de Hoop Cartier, a direct descendant of Louis Cartier, the founder of the luxury watch, necklace, and bracelet maker, where he was allegedly coordinating with a Colombian drug cartel.

Alongside five Colombian nationals, Cartier tried to import 100 kilos of cocaine and launder hundreds of millions of dollars, mostly through over-the-counter (OTC) USDT trades. They actually succeeded at laundering 14.5 million USDT before their arrests.

Cartier is currently in a Miami detention center while his co-conspirators are in Colombian jails.

To carry out his scheme, Cartier controlled shell companies and misrepresented to financial institutions that they were in the business of software and technology. He then used the companies’ accounts, according to the indictment, as unlicensed money transmitters.

Using USDT, dollars, pesos, and other currencies, Cartier laundered hundreds of millions of dollars worth of criminal proceeds.

Read more: Russian founder of sanctioned exchange Garantex starts Tether desk

Cartier jewelry heir loved tether

Cartier has spent most of his life in France, although his citizenship is Argentine. He faces four counts of criminal misconduct: money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering, transacting in property derived from specified unlawful activity, and operating an unlicensed money remitter.

Jeweler Louis Francis Cartier founded the luxury brand in Paris in 1847. Maximilien Cartier, his descendant, also owned a wine, beer, and bottled water company, Patagonia.

USDT is uniquely suited to money laundering. It substitutes directly for dollars yet, unlike bank transfers, may be sent permissionlessly to anyone using 16 blockchains within seconds. For drug cartels accustomed to risky cash deliveries and unreliable bank wires, USDT’s nearly instant and irreversible settlement is a welcome upgrade.

Read more: Tether: Ten years, 100,000,000,000 USDT, and still no audit

For its part, Tether’s parent company publishes repeated assurances that it is working to reduce criminal use of USDT.

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