Dutch cops dismantle another PGP BlackBerry company for alleged money laundering


Image: Pieter Beens / Shutterstock

The cops are really cracking down on companies that sell so-called encrypted BlackBerrys.

Dutch national police on Wednesday Announced policy he had arrested four suspects suspected of money laundering. But more specifically, the group, and especially two main suspects, would be involved in the sale of personalized BlackBerry and Android devices.

Selling these devices isn’t illegal – they can be pre-loaded with clients for encrypted emails, or have the microphone or camera removed for added security – but over the years organized crime used this kind of phones from similar companies.

The suspects include three men from Amsterdam, aged 51, 66 and 34, as well as a 24-year-old man from Almere, just east of Amsterdam. The arrests relate to the “PGP Safe” phone brand.

“The first PGP vendor to only work with products that have the ‘Highest Quality Encryption’ qualification. Therefore, we guarantee the privacy you expect “, PGP Safe’s website readings. The company uses a subscription-based model, with customers paying 12-month licenses to use PGP Safe’s communications services, and according to Politie’s announcement, customers typically pay $ 1,200 each. Most of the sales were made for cash on public roads, Politie says.

PGP Safe did not respond to a request for comment.

Politie says authorities seized a house worth 600,000 euros from one of the suspects, as well as a “mansion” worth an estimated 1.6 million euros. Investigators also seized around two million euros in cash, thirteen vehicles and hundreds of cell phones.

In 2014, similar devices from a company called Phantom were linked to the murder of a Hells Angels biker in Australia. Since 2014, 34 Dutch investigations, including those relating to attempted assassinations and international drug trafficking, have involved PGP phones, according to Politie.

“Police and prosecutors have evidence that the main suspects were aware of their products and services primarily used by criminals for such offenses,” the Politie statement read.

But it’s not the only encrypted phone company that Dutch investigators have targeted. In April of last year, Politie announced that he had quit the owner of Ennetcom, and in March said he had deciphered messages stored on the entered Ennetcom server.

These companies don’t just face the authorities. Last month, someone emptied sensitive customer data from a similar company called Ciphr Online.

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