According to “The Age,” Australian news outlet, Bitcoin skeptic Peter Schiff is facing a major headache as his bank, Euro Pacific Capital, is under international criminal investigations for various financial crimes. On Friday, 17 October, tax authorities from Canada, the Netherlands, U.K, U.S, and Australia have placed hundreds of accounts at the Puerto-Rico offshore bank under investigations in connection to allegations of tax evasion, money laundering, and other financial crimes.
The Bank Attracted High-End Customers
A joint international taskforce consisted of tax authorities from the five major countries launched an investigation identified as “Operation Atlantis” against the Euro Pacific Capital after Dutch authorities gained access to leaked data of the bank’s customers’ details. The clients’ list indicated that the bank offered banking services to recognized financial criminals; one of them is Simon Anquetil, a Sydney-based businessman who Australian authorities jailed for five years for being a mastermind behind a $105 million tax evasion scheme.
As per the report, despite the probe by the five nations, Euro Pacific Capital continues pumping suspected tax fraud money across the world. Several bank accounts are being offered in the U.K, Canada, U.S, and Amsterdam to millionaires who have leveraged the bank’s services to save their properties.
According to the report, the bank made little efforts to scrutinize its clients, several of them with shady pasts. On the customers’ list, there was a Russian crime syndicate whose FBI recognizes as the worst cybercrime group in the world.
Meanwhile, in a home interview with Australian TV show 60 Minutes, Schiff refuted all allegations, saying that his bank has no wrongdoing. He stated that “Operation Atlantis” has “got nothing to do with reality.” He mentioned that the bank is not involved in any illegal activity and argued that he is not part of the day-to-day operations of the bank. He further claimed that the bank “turns down far more accounts than we approve because our compliance is so rigorous". However, when the news reporter pressed on the issue, Schiff ripped off his microphone and angrily quit the television interview.
The U.S taxman IRS knocked on his door this year January 24 and the investigation still continues. Euro Pacific Bank has a huge customer list, and therefore, tax authorities would take a long time to get the bottom of the matter.
Crypto Community Responds to The Bitcoin Critic
Schiff is well-known as a longtime Gold bug and a fierce Bitcoin critic. He has been vocal against Bitcoin since 2013, claiming that the leading cryptocurrency has no value. He has been associating Bitcoin with criminal activities, but it is an apparent irony to see him saying that his bank is without sin. Some crypto Twitter influencers have attacked Schiff. For example, Alex Saunders, founder and CEO of Nuggets News AU, said: “All those years bashing Bitcoin and now (Peter Schiff) finds himself at the centre of a major criminal investigation into international tax evasion.”
However, some crypto Twitter users have shown sympathy to him. A self-identified Bitcoin enthusiast, stated: “Peter Schiff may be wrong about Bitcoin, but he understands how governments work against the people and has the ba**s to try to make the world a better place by standing up to them.”