By: Eva Baxter
U.K. authorities have reportedly confiscated 61,000 BTC worth an estimated £1.4 billion, or $1.78 billion, connected to an investment scam that was operational in China. The individual implicated in the fraud, Zhimin Qian, had exchanged a portion of profits from a £5 billion scam in China between the period of 2014 and 2017 into bitcoin for the seamless transfer of this accumulated wealth out of China. Qian has been identified as Yadi Zhang and holds a St. Kitts and Nevis passport.
Upon moving to the U.K in 2017, Zhang enlisted Jian Wen to launder the money, attempting to purchase a £23.5 million mansion in London. This activity led to a police raid on their £17,000-per-month rented apartment, leading to the seizure of digital wallets containing the aforementioned bitcoin stash. Although Wen was not implicated in the initial scam, she faces trial for money laundering, with allegations of assisting Zhang in converting digital assets into cash, luxury items, and properties, fully aware that the money had been procured illegally.
The crypto seizures point towards a wider trend by UK authorities cracking down on illegal crypto activities. Similarly, the U.S. and German authorities have undertaken recent actions to confiscate illegal cryptocurrency assets.
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