Elliptic Links Huione Guarantee to Global Money Laundering and Cyber Scam

Blockchain sleuth Elliptic has uncovered that online marketplace Huione Guarantee, which is being widely used by scam operators in Southeast Asia, has engaged in transactions totaling at least $11 billion.

A significant chunk of this is linked to money laundering and cyber scams.

Investigation on Huione Guarantee

According to a new investigation from the Elliptic research team, Huione Guarantee is an online marketplace operated by the Cambodian conglomerate Huione Group. It was established in 2021 as a legitimate marketplace for goods such as real estate and cars. However, most of its current offerings appear to be catering to cyber scam operators.

While the platform accepts bank transfers and payment apps, it mainly uses Tether (USDT), which offers greater traceability than fiat transactions.

The researchers found that the largest group operating on Huione Guarantee offers money laundering services, including accepting payments from victims, transferring funds across borders, and converting them to cash, stablecoins, and Chinese payment apps. They specify the types of fraud proceeds they handle based on the risk of funds being frozen.

Another group of merchants provides software and web development services, including creating scam crypto investment websites used in “pig butchering” scams. Personal data, telecom equipment, and “AI face-changing” software are also available, aiding scammers in targeting and communicating with victims.

Additionally, the marketplace offers various scam-enabling products, including equipment used to imprison and torture workers in scam compounds. Advertisements for tear gas, electric batons, and electronic shackles are common, with references to controlling “runaway dogs” – a term used for those working in the compounds.

Huione Exhibits Darknet Marketplace Traits

Huione Guarantee and its merchants receive substantial amounts of cryptocurrency, indicating their role in enabling cyber scams in Southeast Asia.

Evidence shows Huione International Payments, a division of Huione Pay, is involved in laundering scam proceeds globally, as revealed in the latest investigation which has subsequently led to the labeling of hundreds of cryptocurrency addresses controlled by Huione companies in Elliptic’s tools.

Elliptic said that crypto exchanges and other businesses can screen transactions for connections to Huione-related wallets to prevent further laundering. Stablecoin operators can also take steps to block the misuse of their crypto assets through these wallets.

“Huione Guarantee has many of the characteristics of a darknet marketplace; however, it is operated by a large Cambodian conglomerate: Huione Group. The group operates a payments and foreign exchange business, Huione Pay, and has interests in insurance, airlines, and real estate. Huione Guarantee appears to be closely linked to Huione Pay, being featured prominently on the latter’s website.”

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