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$211 million seized in largest crypto raid

·2-min read
UK Metropolitan police officers standing together in the city and a representation of different crypto coins
Around $211 million worth of cryptocurrency has been seized in the UK in what is believed to be the world’s largest crypto raid (Souce: Getty)

Specialist detectives in the UK investigating money laundering offences made a seizure of over $211 million (£114 million) – the largest cryptocurrency seizure in the UK and believed to be one of the largest globally.

The seizure was carried out by detectives from the Met’s Economic Crime Command on the back of intelligence received about the transfer of criminal assets.

“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,” Detective Constable Joe Ryan said.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty said the Metropolitan Police were working to reduce violent crime in London and that includes financial crimes.

“There is an inherent link between money and violence. Violence is used to extort, blackmail, burgle, control and exploit. It’s used to protect criminal profits and maintain control of territories,” McNulty said.

“Cash remains king, but as technology and online platforms develop, some are moving to more sophisticated methods of laundering their profits.”

McNulty said they had been focussing on highly training their officers and specialised units to try and stay one step ahead of the criminals.

“These officers not only work to disrupt and seize funds being transferred digitally, they continue to deprive criminals of hard cash. In the financial year 2020/21, we have seized more than £47 million (AU$87 million) from the hands of criminals,” he said.

“This cash can no longer be reinvested in crime, it cannot be used to buy and peddle drugs and weapons, and cannot be used to entice and exploit young and vulnerable people into criminality.”

Crypto crime on the rise

Cryptocurrency crime rates have been increasing exponentially as digital currency has become more popular.

In Australia in 2018 there were 5,011 reports of cryptocurrency crimes, which had risen 67 per cent by 2020 to 9,689.

Bitcoin has the most crime-related reports, which the report said is unsurprising as it is by far the world’s most used cryptocurrency, according to research from Crypto Head.

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