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Hospitality Worker Convicted in UK’s Largest Bitcoin Money Laundering Case

In a landmark case, Jian Wen, a former hospitality worker, has been convicted of money laundering in a UK court specializing in significant fraud cases, following the discovery of a staggering $2.5 billion in Bitcoin under her control.

The Southwark Crown Court’s ruling came after a detailed investigation into Wen’s financial activities, which included the purchase of luxury properties and expensive jewelry.

This investigation examined 48 electronic devices and thousands of files, many in Mandarin, the BBC reported.

Wen’s sudden shift in lifestyle from residing above a Chinese restaurant to renting a lavish six-bedroom house in North London, with a monthly rent of $21,420, signaled the authorities to her trail.

Moreover, her attempt to buy a $30 million mansion in London was a critical lead that prompted further scrutiny by the officials, Cointelegraph noted.

Wen’s ambitious real estate ventures in London, coupled with her inability to pass money-laundering checks despite claiming substantial earnings from Bitcoin mining, raised suspicions.

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The UK police branded the case as the largest Bitcoin seizure in the country, with Wen convicted for her involvement in a money laundering arrangement, awaiting sentencing on May 10.

Chief Crown Prosecutor Andrew Penhale stressed the growing use of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in criminal operations, facilitating asset disguise and transfer by fraudsters.

Contrary to the authorities’ stance on cryptocurrencies being widely used for money laundering, a recent US Treasury Department report argued that cash remains the preferred medium for such illicit activities, due to its anonymity and stability.

Adding to the discourse, Nasdaq’s “Global Financial Crime Report” shed light on the financial crime landscape, noting that approximately $3.1 trillion in illicit funds circulated through the global financial system in 2023.

Interestingly, the report did not specifically mention Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies, indicating a broader perspective on financial crime beyond the digital currency realm.

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