The Metropolitan Police have seized £114 million in crypto – said to be the largest seizure in the UK and perhaps the largest globally.
According to a statement by authorities, the seizure was carried out by detectives from the Met’s Economic Crime Command on the back of intelligence received about the transfer of criminal assets.
Detective Constable Joe Ryan commented on the investigation:
“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.”
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty added:
“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. Violence is used to extort, blackmail, burgle, control and exploit. It’s used to protect criminal profits and maintain control of territories.”
McNulty said that cash remains king but new technology means some bad actors are seeking more sophisticated methods of laundering funds.
“…we have highly trained officers and specialist units working day and night to remain one step ahead, McNulty said. “These officers not only work to disrupt and seize funds being transferred digitally, they continue to deprive criminals of hard cash. In the financial year 2020/21, we have seized more than £47 million from the hands of criminals. This cash can no longer be reinvested in crime, it cannot be used to buy and peddle drugs and weapons, and cannot be used to entice and exploit young and vulnerable people into criminality.”
Meanwhile, Chainalysis said in an interview today that only about 1% to 2% of crypto transfers are due to illicit activity. The company works with enforcement authorities to help root out attempts of money laundering and nefarious activity with technology designed to track transactions frequently hosted on a public ledger. Still, authorities like the Financial Action Task Force have sought new rules to assure that platforms maintain buyer and seller records that should make monitoring of crypto far easier.