Detectives from the UK Metropolitan Police’s Economic Crime Command conducted the largest cryptocurrency seizure in the country, and it is believed to be one of the largest globally. According to the announcement, the authorities seized £114 million ($158.8 million) worth in virtual currencies on Wednesday, reportedly related to a money laundering case.
Although there were no major details provided on the operation, the Crime Command stated that it was possible due to intelligence information received about the transfer of criminal assets. “Criminals need to legitimize their money; otherwise, it risks being seized by law enforcement. The proceeds of crime are almost always laundered to hide the origin, but by disrupting the flow of funds before they are reinvested, we can make London an incredibly difficult place for criminals to operate,” Joe Ryan, Detective Constable, commented.
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Further, Graham McNulty, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the UK Metropolitan Police’s Economic Crime Command, highlighted ‘an inherent link’ between money and violence and pointed out how criminals are moving to more sophisticated methods of laundering their revenues. However, he did not give more information about the context of the investigation, which is still underway, according to the press release.
“These officers not only work to disrupt and seize funds being transferred digitally, they continue to deprive criminals of hard cash. In the financial year 2020/21, we have seized more than £47 million from the hands of criminals. This cash can no longer be reinvested in crime, it cannot be used to buy and peddle drugs and weapons, and cannot be used to entice and exploit young and vulnerable people into criminality,” McNulty added.
Recently, officials from the Gyeonggi provincial government in South Korea launched a massive crackdown on tax evaders who used cryptocurrencies to hide their earnings, as over $47 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and other digital assets were seized from 12,000 people who allegedly were involved in tax dodging.