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Victims of $6.2 Billion Chinese Fraud Scheme Seek UK Help to Recover $4.3 Billion in Seized Bitcoin

Victims of an investment fraud scheme orchestrated by Tianjin Lantian Gerui Electronic Technology in China are attempting to reclaim $4.3 billion in Bitcoin.

This amount, originally purchased with funds misappropriated from the victims, has been seized by the U.K. government.

Represented by a group, the victims have reached out to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, urging it to collaborate with the U.K. to facilitate the return of their assets.

From 2014 to 2017, the fraudulent scheme amassed over $6.2 billion.

In response, the victims’ group has also engaged with China’s Ministry of Public Security and gathered nearly 2,500 signatures in support of their plea.

They intend to submit these to both the ministries involved.

The crux of their request was articulated in a letter to the Chinese government, stating, “We do not want, and will never accept, a situation where Bitcoins are confiscated by the UK and not returned to us.”

The letter appeals for the Chinese authorities to assist by proving the victims’ rightful ownership of the Bitcoin to the U.K.

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The matter came to light following a botched attempt by Jian Wen, a former hospitality worker, to launder part of the stolen funds through the purchase of a $30-million mansion using Bitcoin.

The transaction drew suspicion as Wen failed to account for the origin of the funds, triggering a U.K. investigation.

This investigation led to a 2021 raid on a property rented by Wen and her boss, Zhimin Qian—who is believed to be the mastermind behind the scheme—where authorities discovered 61,000 BTC.

At the time of the seizure, the cryptocurrency was valued at $1.7 billion, but its value has since escalated to approximately $4.3 billion, reflecting the volatile nature of Bitcoin prices.

Initially, Wen claimed the Bitcoin had been mined but later described it as a “love present” from Qian, who has since fled the U.K.

Following these events, Wen faced legal proceedings and was found guilty of three counts of money laundering by Southwark Crown Court on March 20, spanning activities from October 2017 to January 2022. She contested all charges but was nonetheless convicted.

The outcome for the seized Bitcoin and the victims’ efforts to reclaim their funds remains uncertain as the U.K. government has yet to disclose how it will handle the situation.

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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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