Venezuela’s recently launched petro or petromoneda cryptocurrency presents a new trade-based money laundering (TBML) risk according to an official at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Launched in February 2018 and developed by the government of Venezuela, the petro is supposed to be backed by the country’s oil and mineral reserves and aims to supplement Venezuela’s plummeting currency.

New risks

But DHS analyst Katlyn Woods says she believes the petro could be used for illicit purposes.

“I feel like it’s definitely geared toward more corruption and criminal activity, and there’s going to be some black market for it,” she said.

TBML threat

Woods particularly pointed out that the petro could be used in TBML operations. The use of a digital currency like the petro for such operations would add “another layer to an already layered money laundering concept,” she said.

This would make laundering using the petro difficult for authorities to detect she concluded.