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Swedish criminal gangs confess to using Spotify for money laundering

"We have paid people who have done this for us systematically,” one source mentions in the local newspaper report

  • Words: Amira Waworuntu | Image: Nurphoto via Getty Images
  • 13 September 2023
Swedish criminal gangs confess to using Spotify for money laundering

Members of Swedish criminal gangs responsible for bombings and shootings in the country have confessed to using Spotify to launder money.

This was revealed via an investigatory report by local Swedish newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet (SvD), in which four gang members from three separate criminal networks confirmed using the Stockholm-based music streaming platform to facilitate their illegal operations.

According to the SvD, from as far back as 2019, gangs would use money from drug deals, robberies, fraud and contract killings, convert it into Bitcoin and then pay for false Spotify streams of songs connected to them — the higher the number of streams, the higher the payouts from the platform.

An anonymous investigative police officer who contributed to the SvD report told the paper that this “can amount to millions each year,” and that "Spotify has become a bank machine for the gangs. There's a direct link to the gangs and the deadly violence.”

Police records show that Sweden experienced 90 explosions, 101 attempted bombings and 391 shootings in 2022.

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Another source points out that the platform is a valuable tool for recruitment and propaganda; by buying fake streams, it aids in promoting artists affiliated with the gangs.

"We have paid people who have done this for us systematically," reveals one of the gang members, adding that these collaborators “made sure we ended up at the top of the charts.”

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SvD reached out to Spotify for a comment, to which the streaming platform responded: “We have no evidence that money laundering occurred via Spotify.”

Spotify continues its statement by acknowledging that manipulated streams are an industry-wide challenge which it has been working hard to combat.

Via: Music Business Worldwide & Far Out Magazine

Amira Waworuntu is Mixmag Asia’s Managing Editor, follow her on Instagram.

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