Contradicting statements made by Wen have led the leading prosecutor Gillian Jones to believe that there may be more than she is letting on.
A 42-year-old Chinese woman, Jian Wen, has found herself in the crosshairs of the China police following her alleged involvement with a wanted criminal Zhimin Qian. According to the police, Wen, who was formerly a takeaway worker, has been helping Qian to launder the proceeds of a £5 billion ($6.34 billion) investment scam that she carried out in China between 2014 to 2017.
In a statement to the jury, prosecutors claimed that Qian had bought cryptocurrencies with her scam profits before fleeing China. She reportedly fled to the UK under the alias Yadi Zhang. Although investigations pointed prosecutors to a six-bedroom house near Hampstead Heath in northwest London, Qian remains at large as of press time.
Meanwhile, officers have seized some items, including a safety deposit box and devices containing digital wallets. According to the reports, the retrieved wallets held over 61,000 Bitcoin (BTC) when the authorities made contact. That translates to approximately £1.4 billion ($1.7 billion) at the time.
Interestingly, however, prosecutors believe that Wen might not have been in on the primary crime. Nonetheless, she has been charged with three counts of money laundering between October 2017 and January 2022.
While it hasn’t been established what relationship really existed between Wen and Qian, Wen insists that she only knew Qian professionally and acted as a carer for her. She also mentioned that she addressed her as “Zhang” – the name she came into the UK with, and sometimes called her “boss”, thinking they were just into the jeweler’s business.
Though she did not deny ever handling Bitcoin, her claims may suggest that Wen never even knew Zhang as Qian.
Statements Don’t Add Up, China Police Suggests
Meanwhile, contradicting statements from Wen have led the leading prosecutor Gillian Jones to believe that there may be more than she is letting on. Ms. Jones told the jury that Wen first claimed that the 3,000 Bitcoin (approximately £15 million) resulted from her mining efforts before later claiming it was a generous gift. Part of Jones’ statement reads:
“A gesture by a very generous benefactor pleased with the care and assistance provided, or a device or sham to create an air of legitimacy as to the source of funds when Miss Wen attempted to purchase high-value property on behalf of Miss Zhang.”
Whatever might be the case, the jury will have to decide whether she acted out of innocence or knew exactly what she did for Qian. For now, the trial continues at Southwark Crown Court.