The US government seized five domain names and is going after dozens more as part of its crackdown on Liberty Reserve, a digital currency provider apparently popular with criminals.
The Department of Justice said yesterday that the company was responsible for laundering $6 billion spread across 55 million transactions, “virtually all of which were illegal”.
The service was being used to facilitate fraud and child pornography, among other nasties, according to Justice.
Seven people have been arrested in the US, Spain and Costa Rica and five domain names were seized: libertyreserve.com, exchangezone.com, swiftexchanger.com, moneycentralmarket.com and asianagold.com.
Three are registered with Go Daddy. The main site, libertyreserve.com, is with Swedish registrar AB NameISP and exchangezone.com is with Internet.bs.
But .com registry Verisign handled the seizures, according to a court order published by Justice (pdf).
While Liberty Reserve was based in Costa Rica, there doesn’t appear to be any reason to believe the company’s activities were any more legal there than in the US.
Justice is also seeking the forfeiture of 35 other domain names, mostly .coms, that were allegedly (pdf) being used as “exchanger” sites, where Liberty Reserve users could exchange real money for virtual currency.