Scotland Yard has carried out the biggest Bitcoin seizure in British history, finding a staggering £114 million in a suspect’s account yesterday.
Specialist detectives investigating a tip-off about criminal assets uncovered an astonishing sum of cryptocurrency being laundered in the UK.
The bumper profits of a criminal network discovered by detectives from the Economic Crime Command represent one of the largest cryptocurrency seizures in the world.
Last night details of the colossal money laundering operation were being kept secret as officers seek to trace those responsible.
But Scotland Yard vowed the investigation by specialist financial investigators would continue until the culprits were brought to justice.
The sum captured is more than 20 times the amount of cash seized from criminals by the force in the last financial year.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty said of the landmark Bitcoin seizure: ‘Every single part of the Met is working to reduce violence on the streets of London as an absolute priority, this includes our financial investigators.
‘There is an inherent link between money and violence.’
In May this year, the force announced that it had made its biggest ever cash seizure after a criminal dubbed ‘moneybags’ was spotted struggling to carry holdalls brimming with money.
More than £5 million was discovered stuffed under mattresses, in cupboards and stacked up on the floor of a flat in West London which a money laundering gang had stored because they ‘didn’t know what to do with it’ during the lockdown.
In comparison, the latest seizure of bitcoin is said to have stunned detectives.
Unlike convential currency, Bitcoin largely exists online.
Bitcoins are created through a complex process known as mining and then monitored by a network of computers across the world.
The cryptocurrency has proved popular with criminals to buy drugs and guns as it can be traded anonymously and is unregulated.
In recent years, police seizures of cryptocurrency have been growing.
Surrey Police were the first force in 2019 to capture more than £1.2million worth of Bitcoin from a senior member of an organised crime gang.
Serejgs Teresko, was jailed for nine years for money laundering and drugs offences relating to a large cannabis factory in Virginia Water.