Scotland Yard announced the seizure of £114 Million ($158 million) from a suspected money-laundering operation.
The U.K.’s Metropolitan Police announced today the force’s biggest cryptocurrency confiscation to date and one of the largest in the world. The nearly $160 million dollars confiscated are more than double the amount seized by Scotland Yard in all of 2020. The money seized is allegedly tied to a money-laundering ring that officials have been investigating.
The police discovered the massive nest egg after intelligence received a tip of a large amount of crypto being transferred that was tied to criminal activity. The investigation is ongoing.
Officials from the Economic Crime Command declined to comment about which cryptocurrencies exactly had been among the confiscated funds.
According to Graham McNulty, the Deputy Assistant Commissioner, cryptocurrencies and money laundering are a major issue that needs to be resolved. “Cash remains king, but as technology and online platforms develop, some are moving to more sophisticated methods of laundering their profits. But, we have highly trained officers and specialist units working day and night to remain one step ahead.” McNulty added that the whole Metro Police will be working to reduce violent crime in London, and that includes financial investigations. ‘There is an inherent link between money and violence,’ McNulty says.
Big crypto seizures are becoming more common
As the world of digital assets becomes more and more prevalent, so do crimes involving cryptocurrencies. The risk of these financial crimes has spurred regulators to act swiftly in order to protect the investments of their citizens and from illegal activity involving crypto. The increased scrutiny has naturally led to an increase in arrests involving criminals using digital currency to hide their tracks so to speak.
On Wednesday, South Korea announced they had seized around $50 million in digital currency from more than 12,000 of its citizens accused of tax evasion. South Korea stated it was their biggest seizure of digital assets for back taxes to date. The investigation ran was a follow-up to a previous probe into nearly 150,000 South Koreans who owed back taxes. The 12,000 were identified as having crypto wallets which the funds were eventually seized from.
Moving stateside, the U.S. Department of Justice also recently announced a seizure of around $2.3 million in Bitcoin from a previous ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline infrastructure. That seizure was preceded by a $1 billion seizure of Silk Road’s crypto wallet, the largest in history.