UK Police’s Biggest Ever Crypto Seizure: £114 Million

London’s Metropolitan Police have impounded the equivalent of US$160 million in cryptocurrency as part of a money-laundering investigation, to date the largest haul of its kind in Britain and one of the largest in the world.

Police would not specify which cryptocurrencies were intercepted, but revealed the operation was carried out by its Economic Crime Command team in connection with money-laundering offences.

The Met’s Deputy Assistant Police Commissioner Graham McNulty spoke to Britain’s Sky News of the link between money and violence and how the latter is used to protect criminal profits and maintain control of territories.

Cash remains king, but as technology and online platforms [continue to] develop, some [criminals] 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.

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Graham McNulty, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, London Metropolitan Police

Detective Constable Joe Ryan added: “Criminals need to legitimise 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.

Det. Const. Joe Ryan, London Metropolitan Police

New Record in Crypto Misappropriations

The global record in crypto seizures once belonged to dark web marketplace Silk Road and its founder Ross Ulbricht when in 2020 the US Department of Justice recovered US$1 billion in stolen Bitcoin. But that amount is dwarfed by the US$3.6 billion in Bitcoin that’s gone missing following the disappearance earlier this month of the Cajee brothers who founded a cryptocurrency investment platform in South Africa.

Closer to home, in February, NSW Police arrested the head of a multimillion-dollar money-laundering syndicate after stopping his car in Sydney’s inner west and finding AU$1 million cash on board.

Phil Stafford
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Phil Stafford

Phil is a long-standing Australian journalist with specialised experience in business, finance, travel and popular culture.

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