A Beijing Youth Daily reporter learned yesterday from the Shanghai Pudong New Area Procuratorate that recently, the Pudong New Area Procuratorate handled the country’s first series of money laundering crimes using online live streaming rewards.

Recently, the court prosecuted four platform anchors, Li, Wang, Jia and Fang, on suspicion of money laundering.

  Where do the funds in fundraising fraud cases go?

  According to reports, in July 2021, the Seventh Procuratorate, the financial procuratorial department of the Pudong New Area Procuratorate, was handling a fund-raising fraud case.

From January 2018 to July 2020, the criminal suspect Yu (handled in a separate case) successively established Z Group and other affiliated companies for the purpose of illegal possession. Without permission from relevant national departments, he used advertising, word of mouth, etc. The method was publicly promoted, promising high annualized returns, and selling classified financial products split from financial leasing income rights to unspecified members of the public through offline stores. It illegally raised more than 1.2 billion yuan in funds, with more than 700 million yuan in principal unpaid.

  When receiving the victim (i.e., the investor) in the case, the prosecutor learned that a large amount of investment funds flowed into a well-known live broadcast platform through live broadcast rewards.

By auditing the flow of funds, some high-frequency and large-amount rewards in a short period of time attracted the attention of prosecutors.

Prosecutors targeted four anchors, including the platform’s head anchor Li.

 Anchors use rewards to withdraw money to participate in money laundering

  Li and Yu met in 2018.

At that time, Yu was giving rewards in Li's live broadcast room in the name of "big brother". Later, he added WeChat and became friends.

After that, Li followed Yu to visit high-end hotels, travel abroad, attend yacht clubs, etc. He even hosted a live broadcast in Yu's Z Group.

At the same time, Yu gave more and more rewards in his live broadcast room, and the amount became larger and larger.

Also close to him are anchors Wang, Jia and Fang from the same live broadcast platform.

During these close interactions, Li and others gradually became aware of the fact that a certain person illegally absorbed deposits from the public, but they not only turned a deaf ear to it, but instead acted as "brokers" to "launder" the proceeds of fund-raising and fraud crimes.

  From 2018 to mid-2020, Li and four others collected stolen money by accepting rewards during live broadcasts, and laundered the reward funds through cash withdrawals, transfers, etc., in order to launder and transfer the funds for fund-raising fraud suspects Stolen money.

  In this way, suspects in fund-raising fraud reward wildly in the live broadcast room, and then "return" to themselves through the anchor's transfer and remittance, thus "laundering" the stolen money, and the platform anchor earns traffic and popularity from it.

  The funds involved exceed 50 million yuan

  In July 2021, after discovering possible clues to money laundering crimes, the Pudong New Area Procuratorate held a case study and judgment meeting with the public security organs, judicial auditing, financial supervision and other units to guide the public security organs in investigating and collecting evidence to confirm the suspect's subjective knowledge of the predicate crime. The degree and the specific process of money laundering between the two parties, a comprehensive review of the flow of upstream criminal funds, and the criminal fact that the fund-raising fraud money was returned to the suspects for fund-raising fraud through platform anchor Li and others, and the funds involved exceeded 50 million yuan.

In January 2022, the Pudong New Area Procuratorate issued a letter of prosecution.

In June 2022, the public security organs opened a case for investigation.

In June 2023, the case was transferred to the Pudong New District Procuratorate for review and prosecution.

  After more than two years of collecting and consolidating evidence, a complete and solid "evidence chain" was finally formed regarding the subjective knowledge of anchor Li and four others and the objective flow of funds.

In December 2023, the Pudong New Area People's Procuratorate prosecuted four people.

Three criminal suspects pleaded guilty and accepted punishment. One of them refunded all the stolen money, and two of them refunded most of the stolen money.

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  The “return flow” ecosystem provides a breeding ground for money laundering crimes

  During the handling of this case, prosecutors got a glimpse of an ecology of "return flow of rewards" on the live broadcast platform, which provided a breeding ground for money laundering crimes.

The "reflow" of live broadcast reward funds is a default unspoken rule in the live broadcast room. In order to retain the big customers who spend a lot of money in the live broadcast room, or to get more rewards and gain attention, the host makes an agreement with the rewarder. Proportionate return of tipping income.

For this kind of ecology where "cashback for live broadcast rewards is an unspoken rule of the industry", the platform has no supervision and restrictions, and there is no monitoring and early warning for high-frequency and high-amount abnormal reward behaviors, causing reward activities to become money laundering for criminals. aisle.

  Prosecutors also found that the live broadcast platform involved in the case also opened a recharge channel for public accounts, resulting in large corporate capital flows becoming a source of funds for live broadcast rewards.

At the same time, a "coin dealer" profession has emerged on the live broadcast platform that resells platform coins or recharges platform coins. Since the platform does not have an audit mechanism for "coin dealers" who purchase large amounts of coins, "coin dealers" have also become a tipping industry. As part of the gray area, users, anchors and their studios can evade supervision by directly purchasing millions of yuan in platform coins from “currency merchants” or by giving gifts.

  In December 2023, the Pudong New Area Procuratorate issued procuratorial recommendations to the platforms involved in the case, suggesting that the platforms should correct the anchors' misunderstandings about the so-called "hidden rules of cashback for tips" that have been formed in the industry, and prohibit the "return flow of rewards." Behavior; Strictly implement the real-name authentication system for live broadcast platform rewards, strengthen the supervision of large-amount rewards and large-amount currency purchases, and require users to perform facial recognition, mobile phone verification and other identity verification for live broadcast rewards above a certain amount Compare and authenticate, or require users to associate their real-name third-party payment platform accounts to form multiple identity verifications to ensure that the user’s identity and source of funds can be traced; it is recommended that the platform cancel or strictly limit company accounts that can directly deposit money to recharge other people’s accounts to purchase reward coins. The channel requires anchors and platforms to conduct revenue sharing and settlement through their real names and single designated accounts, which facilitates anti-money laundering departments to track illegal capital flows and large withdrawals.

  The live broadcast platform involved in the case responded quickly and adopted all the prosecutorial suggestions.

In December 2023, while reviewing the prosecution, the Pudong New Area Procuratorate targeted the system loopholes and lax supervision of the live broadcast platform and its operating company involved in the case, and started compliance work for the companies involved in the case together with the procuratorate where the operating company is located.

Currently, the live broadcast platform and the company involved in the case are undergoing compliance rectification.

  This article/reporter Qu Chang