Cambodia-Based Online Marketplace Linked with Facilitating Illicit Activities Through Crypto Payments

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Huione Guarantee, a Cambodian online marketplace worth billions, owned by the Huione conglomerate linked to Cambodia’s ruling family, advances criminal activity and its financing via crypto. Tether’s USDT is a massive payment vessel in the marketplace. Elliptic exposed these happenings in a report.

The marketplace connects buyers and sellers by acting as an aggregator of numerous channels from various messaging applications, bringing large groups of buyers and sellers together. These groups then trade products and services, including stolen credit card details, web development services for scam sites, and equipment to torture individuals at worksites related to scam jobs. These services are offered in exchange for crypto or payments via traditional channels.

“Huione Guarantee operates the platform and acts as a guarantor or escrow provider for all transactions, helping to prevent fraud. Payments are advertised as being accepted primarily in the USDT stablecoin, but payment apps and bank transfers are also used.”

Of all illicit services offered on the marketplace, money laundering is the most utilized, with criminals sending funds to launderers on the platform in exchange for a fee. The fee depends on the severity of the crime committed to obtain the funds. Such services are available to shady figures beyond Cambodian borders as well, converting illegal funds to crypto, cash, or payments via Chinese applications.

“Many of the merchants explicitly offer money laundering services, including accepting payments from victims around the world, transferring it across borders and converting it to other assets including cash, stablecoins, and to Chinese payment apps,” the report continued.

The marketplace, resembling a darknet market, is run by Hun To, cousin of Hun Manet, Cambodia’s prime minister. Australian police claim To is directly responsible for trafficking massive amounts of heroin and offering money laundering services to well-known criminal networks.

Furthermore, Huione Guarantee integrates payment systems like Huione Pay, its native payments network, for criminal financing. The marketplace’s representatives push laundering services through the payment network for large profits, often over 10% of the funds laundered.

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