Met Detectives Largest Bitcoin Laundering Bust in London Seized £3.4 Billion

Met Detectives Largest Crypto Laundering Bust Ring in London Seized £3.4 Billion

Met Detectives Largest Bitcoin Laundering Bust in London Seized £3.4 Billion

In a major victory for law enforcement, a five-year investigation by London’s Metropolitan Police has resulted in the conviction of Jian Wen for money laundering.

Jian Wen. (image credit Metropolitan Police)

Wen, a 42-year-old resident of Hendon, was found guilty of laundering 150 Bitcoin, valued at roughly £7.5 million following a trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Piles of cash discovered during police searches connected to Wen. (image credit Metropolitan Police)

However, this conviction unravelled a much larger web of cryptocurrency crime. Detectives linked Wen to a wider fraudulent operation involving a staggering 61,000 Bitcoin, estimated to be worth over £3.4 billion – the biggest Bitcoin seizure in UK history.

The investigation revealed that the source of the laundered cryptocurrency stemmed from an investment fraud in China. Wen allegedly facilitated the movement and payment of these stolen Bitcoins, despite knowing their criminal origin.

Wen now faces sentencing after being found guilty of “entering into or becoming concerned in a money laundering arrangement.” This case highlights the growing use of cryptocurrency for illicit activities and the increasing efforts of law enforcement to combat it.

Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Prins, whose team led the investigation, said:

“Thanks to the hard work and perseverance of highly skilled detectives in the Met, we have been able to disrupt a sophisticated economic crime operation – the sheer scale of which demonstrates how international criminals seek to exploit cryptocurrency for illegal purposes.

“Our team have helped secure justice and have persevered to trace this Bitcoin and identify the criminality it was linked to.

“This verdict and lengthy five-year investigation demonstrates that we’ll leave no stone unturned in our pursuit to catch criminals who look to enjoy the proceeds of illicit funds – no matter how complex the case.”

Following the guilty verdict, Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Prins also thanked colleagues in the Crown Prosecution Service and National Crime Agency for their dedicated support and expertise throughout the investigation.

Met Police Bust Major Crypto Laundering Scheme: Innovative Techniques & Seized Millions

This landmark conviction showcases the dedication of Metropolitan Police officers and staff. Utilising cutting-edge technology, they tackled serious and organized crime linked to cryptocurrency, a key pillar of “A New Met for London” initiative.

The investigation involved extensive legwork. Officers conducted searches at multiple locations, seizing various evidence. They meticulously examined 48 devices, including phones and laptops, alongside thousands of digital files, many translated from Mandarin. This meticulous work led them to identify online accounts holding the laundered Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Launderer Woman Tried to Buy London Mansions with Dirty Crypto (image credit Metropolitan Police)

The investigation further revealed Wen’s extravagant spending plans. She attempted to purchase two luxury London properties worth a staggering £23.5 million and £12.5 million. However, her inability to prove the Bitcoin’s legitimate source thwarted these attempts.

Andrew Penhale, Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: “Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are increasingly being used by organised criminals to disguise and transfer assets, so that fraudsters may enjoy the benefits of their criminal conduct. This case, involving the largest cryptocurrency seizure in the UK, illustrates the scale of criminal proceeds available to those fraudsters.

“Although the original fraudster remains at large, the Metropolitan Police and CPS have successfully secured a money laundering conviction against Jian Wen, an individual employed to launder criminal proceeds. The CPS will now work to ensure, through criminal confiscation and civil proceedings, that the criminal assets remain beyond the fraudsters’ reach.

“The CPS is committed to working closely with law enforcement and investigatory authorities, to bring to justice individuals and companies who engage in laundering criminal proceeds through cryptocurrency.”

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