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Bitcoin Worth $1.7 Billion Seized in London Mansion Money Laundering Probe

In a recent development, authorities have seized approximately $1.7 billion worth of Bitcoin as part of an investigation into an alleged money laundering scheme involving a former restaurant worker who attempted to purchase a £30 million mansion in London.

The individual at the center of this case is Jian Wen, a Chinese national who acquired British citizenship in 2018.

According to reports by Sky News on January 30th, Wen was allegedly recruited to assist Zhimin Qian in the process of laundering funds obtained from an investment fraud scheme that took place in China between 2014 and 2017.

Qian had entered the United Kingdom using a false identity and sought Wen’s help in cleaning the ill-gotten gains.

Before her involvement with Qian, Jian Wen had been employed at a Chinese restaurant in southeast London and lived in a room beneath the restaurant.

She introduced Qian as her “boss,” claiming he worked in the international jewelry business.

Prosecutor Gillian Jones clarified that Wen was not directly involved in the fraudulent activities conducted by Qian.

However, Wen stands accused of converting Bitcoin into various assets, including cash, luxury items, and real estate, all on behalf of Qian.

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One notable attempt was her endeavor to purchase a seven-bedroom mansion in Hampstead, London, equipped with a swimming pool, valued at £30 million.

Unfortunately, her plans were thwarted as she couldn’t provide a legitimate source for the cryptocurrency assets she intended to use for the acquisition.

Subsequently, authorities conducted a raid on a residence rented by Wen and Qian, where they seized numerous devices containing over 61,000 BTC, amounting to approximately $1.7 billion, based on 2021 valuations.

Initially, Wen claimed that the cryptocurrency she held had been mined.

However, she later altered her statement, asserting that it was a “love present,” substantiating this with a deed indicating that she had received 3,000 BTC from Qian.

Jian Wen is currently on trial at the Southwark Crown Court, facing three counts of money laundering spanning from October 2017 to January 2022.

She vehemently denies all charges against her. Meanwhile, Zhimin Qian has managed to evade authorities and remains at large, adding intrigue to this ongoing case.

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Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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