British detectives on Tuesday seized a record nearly $250 million (180 million British pounds) in bitcoin linked to money laundering.
“Today’s seizure is another significant landmark in this investigation which will continue for months to come as we hone in on those at the center of the suspected money laundering operation,” said Detective Constable Joe Ryan.
The cryptocurrency was discovered Saturday after the economic crime command for the Metropolitan Police, which oversees Greater London, received intelligence relating to the criminal transfer, according to reports. In June, the police confiscated $158 million (114 million British pounds) worth of cryptocurrency and arrested a 39-year-old woman in connection to the case. The woman was interviewed in relation to the latest seizure.
British Police Seize $250 Million Of Cryptocurrency In International Money Laundering Crackdown https://t.co/2b3c0Zo9EZ pic.twitter.com/NaEMWZsAaE
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“While cash remains king in the criminal world, as digital platforms develop we are increasingly seeing organized criminals using cryptocurrency to launder their dirty money,” said Graham McNulty, the police’s deputy assistant commissioner.
“While some years ago this was fairly uncharted territory, we now have highly trained officers, and specialist units working hard in this space to remain one step ahead of those using it for illicit gain,” McNulty added.
Cryptocurrencies have frequently been used in money laundering schemes despite blockchain acting as a preventive tool.
“Cryptocurrencies have the reputation for being cross-border and anonymous, and therefore attractive to bad actors across the world,” Kim Grauer, senior economist for Chainalysis, told Quartz in December 2019. “But because transactions involving cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are recorded on a permanent, public, and immutable ledger, cryptocurrencies can actually offer unprecedented transparency into financial transactions.”