What just happened? Police in the UK have seized almost $250 million (£180 million) of cryptocurrency in a money-laundering investigation. The amount is a UK record and thought to be one of the largest-ever crypto seizures globally.
The Metropolitan Police announced that the seizure was made by the Met’s Economic Crime Command. It comes a few weeks after it confiscated $157.8 million worth of crypto. Both came on the back of intelligence received about the transfer of criminal assets and form part of an ongoing investigation into international money laundering.
The Met hasn’t revealed the type of crypto it seized. According to The Guardian, the digital currency in question was Bitcoin.
“While cash still remains king in the criminal world, as digital platforms develop, we’re increasingly seeing organized criminals using cryptocurrency to launder their dirty money,” said the Metropolitan police’s deputy assistant commissioner, Graham McNulty.
A 39-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of money laundering offenses on June 24. She was released on bail and interviewed under caution on July 10 in relation to the latest crypto seizure and has been bailed to a date in late July.
It’s presumed that the value of the crypto relates to the time it was seized—when one Bitcoin was worth around $33,000. Had the incident took place during BTC’s near $64,000 peak in mid-April, the total amount would have been worth almost double.
While $250 million is a lot of money, it pales in comparison to the alleged $3.6 billion worth of Bitcoin taken in what appears to be the biggest cryptocurrency heist—or hack—in history. But some reports claim that amount may have been a lot lower.