Dutch Criminals Demand BTC from Businesses

Criminals threaten Amsterdam businesses with violence, demand 50,000 euro in Bitcoin.

A threatening email has been sent to business owners in Amsterdam, demanding that they send 50,000 euro in Bitcoin to an anonymous wallet. According to Netherlands publication NLTimes, multiple businesses have been threatened with shootings and hand grenade attacks unless they pay a protection racket. Dutch police forces confirmed they have received multiple reports of the email and are investigating.

“You probably noticed how many entrepreneurs have had to close their doors recently by order of the municipality. To prevent you from being the next one, you must immediately take action,” reads a section of the email, before instructing recipients to buy and transfer 50,000 euro in Bitcoin to a specific wallet address. “If we do not receive the amount of 100k [sic] within 5 days, we will make sure that you can close your doors. This can be done by shooting a bullet into your facade or tying a grenade to the front door.”

The email demands confidentiality and warns recipients against sharing any information with law enforcement forces. Failure to comply with those instructions will result in a quadrupled extortion fee of 200,000 euro, as well as immediate action against the business. “If we find out that you have filed a report or shared this message with someone else, we will immediately ensure that you can close the doors for at least three months.”

A Complicated Scheme

According to the instructions provided in the email, the victims must open an account on either Coinbase or Coinmama, and use that account to buy Bitcoin through that exchange. The Bitcoin must then be transferred to a specified address.

NLTimes reports that so far the email has been sent to four Amsterdam businesses. Club Abe, a local nightclub, received the email in May after a hand grenade was found tied to the club’s door. However, it is not yet clear whether the email and the incident are related. “The detective told us that the mail was known to them, so we were not the first,” said Marcel Norbart, owner of Club Abe. “We did not pay. Such a mail indicates to us that there is no longer any logic behind the leaving of grenades; after all, they target from patisserie to a hotel. A worrying phenomenon.”

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