Detectives at the Metropolitan Police have seized nearly £180 million in cryptocurrency as part of an anti-money laundering operation.
The seizure is believed to be the biggest of its kind and tops a recent record-breaking haul that saw £114m confiscated by Met Police detectives in June.
Police said the crypto seizures were made following tip-offs over the “transfer of criminal assets” and formed part of an ongoing investigation.
The Met Police Economic Crime Command coordinated the operation, which led to the arrest of a 39-year-old woman on suspicion of money laundering.
The same woman was interviewed under caution in relation to the discovery of the £180 million worth of cryptocurrency seized over the weekend
Police confirmed the woman has been bailed to a date in late July.
Detective Constable Joe Ryan said: “Less than a month ago we successfully seized £114million in cryptocurrency. Our investigation since then has been complex and wide-ranging. We have worked hard to trace this money and identify the criminality it may be linked to.
“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 centre of this suspected money laundering operation.”
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Globally, authorities are growing increasingly concerned about the use of cryptocurrencies in money laundering.
The issue has prompted a crackdown on crypto trading in the UK, with the Financial Conduct Authority recently restricting access to Binance. The regulator also aired concerns that many cryptocurrency firms are failing to meet anti-money laundering rules.
Graham McNulty, Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Met said that while “cash still remains king” in the criminal world, organised criminal elements are increasingly turning to cryptocurrency to launder dirty money.
The evolution of cryptocurrency in money laundering has prompted law enforcement to pivot rapidly in recent years, he added.
“Whilst 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 explained.