Scotland Yard detectives have made the UK’s largest cryptocurrency seizure of nearly £180 million worth of cryptocurrencies.
As well as being the largest cryptocurrency seizure in the UK, this is also believed to be one of the largest globally. This follows another recent seizure in which the met confiscated £114 million in cryptocurrencies.
Detective constable Joe Ryan commented on their wide-ranging investigation into cryptocurrency-related money laundering:
“Less than a month ago we successfully seized £114million in cryptocurrency. Our investigation since then has been complex and wide-ranging. We have worked hard to trace this money and identify the criminality it may be linked to. Today’s seizure is another significant landmark in this investigation which will continue for months to come as we hone in on those at the centre of this suspected money laundering operation.”
In June 2019, the Economic Crime Command was created as part of Central Specialist Crime, and has highly trained officers and specialist units, dedicated to preventing and investigating fraud and is the Lead Force for economic crime investigation in the UK.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty outlined the connection between violence and money and the increase in online platforms that launder money:
“There is an inherent link between money and violence. Cash remains king, but as technology and online platforms develop, some are moving to more sophisticated methods of laundering their profits. We have highly trained officers and specialist units working day and night to remain one step ahead.[...] Those linked to this money are clearly working hard to hide it,” said McNulty, adding that the law enforcement “will stop at nothing to disrupt the transfer and identify those involved.”
While cryptocurrency-related crime is on the increase globally, in the UK the police have recognised the growth of organised crime groups moving into cryptocurrencies to wash their dirty money. This week's seizure by the met is one example of the crime unit’s crackdown on money laundering. The investigation is ongoing.
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