As part of an investigation into money laundering, British police have seized GBP 294 million worth of cryptocurrency ($408 million).
London police said they seized GBP 180 million of an undisclosed cryptocurrency. This came less than three weeks after seizing an additional GBP 114 million on June 24. Both seizures are part of a larger money laundering investigation expected to last for months to come, according to Detective Constable Joe Ryan.
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty noted that while criminals may be increasingly using cryptocurrency to launder their dirty money, “cash still remains king in the criminal world.” The police have arrested a 39-year-old woman on suspicion of money laundering upon discovery of the first haul.
Growing regulatory presence
Meanwhile, the money laundering investigation is playing on in the midst of a wider crackdown on cryptocurrencies in Britain. Last week, UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) started cracking down on misleading marketing for crypto investments. It will seek out and take down any misleading or irresponsible crypto advertisements, particularly for online and on social media platforms.
The ASA isn’t typically the regulatory agency you think would be dealing with cryptocurrencies. But the advertising industry’s self-regulatory body has been thrust to the front lines of supervising cryptocurrency advertisements. This is because most crypto investments fall outside the scope of the UK’s strict rules for promoting traditional financial products. This is usually done by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Despite not being regulated like a traditional financial product by the FCA, the financial watchdog performs a great deal of research on cryptocurrencies. According to one of their studies, only a minority of people actually buy digital coins based on advertising. However, those who do so tend to achieve poorer outcomes.
The FCA commented that consumers persuaded by advertisers would likely regret their purchases. This notion is in keeping with other recent data from the FCA. Despite the fact that more people in the UK own cryptocurrency, fewer understand it.
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