The Metropolitan Police Force’s Economic Crime Command department has carried out the largest seizure of cryptocurrency in the UK - and one of the largest in the world - worth £114 million.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty explained that although cash is still king, the development of technology and online platforms means that criminals are now making the move to more sophisticated ways of laundering money, but specialist units and highly trained officers are constantly working to ensure they stay one step ahead.
He went on to say that officers work to disrupt and seize the digital transfer of funds, as well as depriving criminals of hard cash. Over £47 million was seized from criminals in the 2020/21 financial year.
Detective Constable Joe Ryan made further comments on the investigation and seizure, saying: “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.”
This comes after it was reported that the Financial Conduct Authority announced that up to 50 companies dealing in cryptocurrency could be forced to close after failing to meet anti-money laundering rules.
Back in June, the FCA observed that an “unprecedented number” of firms had withdrawn their applications from a temporary permit scheme, allowing them to continue trading until their operations were given the go-ahead.
Those pulling out of the permit scheme must stop trading immediately until they meet the watchdog’s standards and are entered into a formal list of registered businesses. Those that refuse to shut down could be hit with fines or face legal action, as a result.
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