Has Swedish Mafia House become a front for the actual mafia?
An almost-unbelievable report shows how Swedish gangs have pivoted and used Spotify for money laundering.
How can a streaming app allow gangs to launder money, you might ask? While most people never thought about this type of maneuver, the answer is pretty simple: they pay for false Spotify streams for artists affiliated with them, and cash in Spotify checks for laundered money.
“Criminal networks have for several years been using money from drug deals, robberies, fraud and contract killings to pay for false Spotify streams of songs published by artists with ties to the gangs, an investigative report in Svenska Dagbladet claimed.
They then get paid by the platform for the high number of streams, thereby laundering the money,” explains The Guardian, which cites a report recently published in a Swedish newspaper.
According to the newspaper’s anonymous source, the Spotify scam started back in 2019 and, of course, also relies on cryptocurrency to launder money.
From the report:
“Describing the process, he said the gangs would convert their dirty cash to bitcoin, then used the cryptocurrency to pay people who sold fake streams on Spotify, which is a Swedish company. They “made sure we ended up at the top of the charts”, he said, adding that the fake streams also led to an uptick in real streams.”
In a statement for the AFP, Spotify acknowledged that so-called “manipulated streams”, aka gaming the streaming algorithm, are an industry-wide problem. However, the company says that “less than 1% of all streams on Spotify have been determined to be artificial and those are promptly mitigated prior to any payouts.”