UK police seize cryptocurrency worth 180 mln pounds

UK police seize cryptocurrency worth 180 mln pounds
# 13 July 2021 20:37 (UTC +04:00)

Britain's Metropolitan Police said Tuesday that it has made a record cryptocurrency seizure worth nearly 180 million pounds (about 249 million U.S. dollars) as part of an investigation into international money laundering, APA reports citing Xinhua.

The latest seizure is believed to be one of the largest globally and tops the 114 million pounds (about 159 million dollars) confiscation in June, the police said in a statement.

A 39-year-old woman, who had been arrested in June on suspicion of money laundering offences but was released on bail, was interviewed about the seizure, the police said.

The seizures were made by detectives from the Metropolitan Police's Economic Crime Command based on intelligence received about the transfer of criminal assets. They form part of an ongoing investigation into international money laundering, according to the police.

Detective Constable Joe Ryan said: "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 center of this suspected money laundering operation."

"Proceeds of crime are laundered in many different ways. While cash still remains king in the criminal word, as digital platforms develop we're increasingly seeing organized criminals using cryptocurrency to launder their dirty money," Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty said.

"Whilst some years ago this was fairly unchartered territory, we now have highly trained officers and specialist units working hard in this space to remain one step ahead of those using it for illicit gain," McNulty said.

The most popular forms of cryptoassets include tokens like Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoin. They are not issued or backed by a central bank or other authority and are only regulated in Britain for money laundering purposes.

Britain's Financial Conduct Authority warned earlier that cryptoassets are considered very high risk, speculative purchases and "if you buy cryptoassets, you should be prepared to lose all your money".