Swedish Criminal Gangs Are Reportedly Using Spotify to Launder Money

Swedish Criminal Gangs Are Reportedly Using Spotify to Launder Money

Criminal gangs operating in Sweden have allegedly turned to Spotify to launder money, a Swedish newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Citing an investigative report of Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, AFP reported that these criminal networks have purportedly been using proceeds from drug deals, robberies, fraud, and contract killings to finance fabricated Spotify streams for songs linked to artists associated with these gangs. 

The gangs aim to artificially boost the number of song streams, thereby receiving payments from Spotify, effectively laundering the illicit funds in the process.

(Photo : Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 01: The Spotify company logo is diaplayed as traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) during morning trading on February 01, 2023 in New York City. Stocks opened low this morning amid news of another interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve in its continued effort to slow inflation.

Anonymous Member of a Swedish Gang Speaks Up

Svenska Dagbladet disclosed that four individuals connected to various criminal networks in Stockholm corroborated this information alongside an anonymous police investigator.

An anonymous member of the gang confidently stated that there was no doubt about the occurrence of this activity. The four individuals admitted to personal involvement in it.

The anonymous individual revealed that their gang commenced using Spotify for money laundering as far back as 2019, when Swedish gangster rap gained popularity and started to receive music awards.

Elaborating on the process, they explained that these criminal groups would convert their ill-gotten gains into Bitcoin. Subsequently, they used this cryptocurrency to compensate individuals capable of generating counterfeit streams on Spotify, a company based in Sweden. 

The primary objective was to propel their songs to the top of the music charts. In addition, these reportedly fabricated streams had the extra benefit of inflating genuine stream counts, leading to larger payouts from Spotify.

The newspaper pointed out that in Sweden, one million streams could yield around 40,000 to 60,000 kronor, which is equivalent to $3,600 to $5,400.

An investigative police officer who chose to remain anonymous informed Svenska Dagbladet that he reached out to Spotify in 2021 to discuss this matter, but the company allegedly did not respond to his inquiry.

He claimed that Spotify has effectively turned into an ATM for these criminal gangs, and there exists a direct connection between these gangs and the lethal violence occurring.

Read Also: Spotify Top Summer Songs 2023 Revealed: Streaming Platform Lists Taylor Swift as 3rd in the US

Spotify’s Response

In response to these claims, Spotify acknowledged that manipulated streams pose a challenge across the industry and that the company has been diligently working to combat this problem.

The company told AFP that “less than one percent of all streams on Spotify have been determined to be artificial and those are promptly mitigated prior to any payouts.”

Additionally, Spotify claimed that it had no knowledge of any communication from law enforcement regarding this issue and had not discovered any data or concrete evidence suggesting that the platform was being extensively utilized in the manner described. 

Related Article: Spotify Lossless Audio Streaming Tier Might Offer More Expensive ‘Supremium Tier’ Later this Year


ⓒ 2023 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Source link