Scotland Yard seized £114 million (around $158 million) worth of cryptocurrency, which they believe was being used to transfer proceeds of crime. As the Metropolitan Police said on Friday, they arrested a 39-year-old woman on suspicion of money laundering. This was the biggest seizure in the U.K. and more than doubled their total seized from all of 2020.
London police announced the seizure of £114 Million ($158 million) that criminals were planning to launder, Britain’s largest-ever seizure of digital assets.
Scotland Yard said on Friday they arrested a 39-year-old woman on suspicion of money laundering after detectives seized the digital currency, which they believe was being used to transfer proceeds of crime.
The current investigation is tied to the Dark Web marketplace Silk Road. In 2020, the US Department of Justice recovered 69,000 Bitcoins, worth approximately $1 billion at the time, Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht had stashed away. The Metropolitan Police didn’t say the kind of cryptocurrencies they recovered, nor did it reveal exactly how it traced the money.
By the words of 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 claimed 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,” he added.
The current haul of cryptocurrency is worth more than double the amount of cash the force took out of the hands of criminals in the 2020/21 financial year.
In 2013 the U.S. government 1 seized about $1 billion in connection to the Silk Road marketplace. This is the largest seizure of cryptocurrency around the world.
As reported before, the FBI managed to recover most of the ransom paid in Bitcoin to cybercriminals after a recent cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline.
Despite growing demand, the risk of financial crimes becomes a strong motivator for regulators worldwide to step up their inspection of digital assets and represent a significant obstacle to their wider acceptance.