As part of the Twitch data breach, a prominent money laundering scheme on the platform has been exposed – with one Turkish politician calling for it to be investigated “immediately”.
It was noticed when the data breach revealed that numerous lesser-known streamers in Turkey were raising large amounts of Bits – a Twitch currency used to donate to streamers – that was disproportionate to their small follower counts.
As part of the money laundering ring, thieves would use stolen credit cards to purchase – and donate – huge quantities of Bits to streamers. After receiving the donation, involved streamers would then refund most of it into various bank accounts, though allegedly kept a portion of the transaction as their cut.
Haberler reports that a total of £7.2million was laundered through this method over two years, with 2,400 Turkish streamers taking part in the scheme.
Twitch uygulaması üzerinden milyonlarca dolar kara para aklayan ekonomik çıkar amaçlı suç örgütleri ile suç geliri temin eden yayıncılar hakkında önergeyi @HMBakanligi’na sundum. Konu MASAK tarafından acilen incelenmeli, adli ve süreç hemen başlamalı. #TemizTwitch pic.twitter.com/hmGCTeczT8
— Gürsel Tekin (@gurseltekin34) October 31, 2021
Turkish politician Gürsel Tekin has stepped in to address the issue on Twitter. Discussing “criminal organisations that launder millions of dollars of money through the Twitch application” and streamers that enable it, Tekin has called for the matter to be investigated “immediately”.
Acknowledging the fact that younger streamers are being used to launder illicit funds, Tekin added that “unfortunately, a certain age group does not fully understand the subject because they are unfamiliar with these platforms and their operation”.
Meanwhile, a translated statement from BBL Legoo – a streamer who admits to taking part in the scheme – explained that he was approached by a former friend with what was described as a “completely legal” way to make money. After the streamer “jumped like an idiot and said ok”, he realised it was suspicious and wanted out – though the person who got him involved allegedly held a “trump card” over him and would not allow him to leave.
Speaking to PC Gamer, a Twitch spokesperson has said the site “took action against over 150 partners in Turkey for abuse of our monetisation tools” in September alone.
In other news, the latest New World bug allows players to un-ban their own accounts with an alarmingly simple exploit.