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U.K. police seize $250 million worth of crypto in money-laundering probe

July 13, 2021, 3:50 PM UTC

Law enforcement officials in England have seized a record £180 million ($250 million) worth of cryptocurrency as part of a wider investigation into international money laundering.

That’s a record for the Metropolitan Police service, which oversees law enforcement for the Greater London area, breaking a high that was set just a few weeks ago, when officials confiscated £114 million ($158 million) in crypto.

“While cash still remains king in the criminal word, as digital platforms develop we’re increasingly seeing organized criminals using cryptocurrency to launder their dirty money,” said deputy assistant commissioner Graham McNulty in a statement. “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.”

A 39-year-old woman, who was not identified, was arrested on June 24 after the first batch of cryptocurrencies were taken. She has been reinterviewed “under caution” following the recent seizure.

This might not be the end of the trail, either. Officials say the investigation is expected to continue for months as they search for the people at the center of the operation.

It’s a huge haul for U.K. law enforcement, but doesn’t compare to last November’s seizure of nearly 70,000 Bitcoins by the U.S. Justice Department, which was valued at $1 billion at the time and ultimately as high as $3 billion at Bitcoin’s peak. The proceedings in that case seemingly involve two federal agents.

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