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While the British Police crackdown was one of the biggest targeting the organized crime industry, there have been investigations and unearthing of frauds at the individual level too.
As part of its continuous crackdown measures on the crypto route used by criminals for money laundering, the MET Police has seized £180 million ($250 million) worth of the digital asset yet again, the last seizure being just weeks ago.
This is one of the biggest confiscations made on a global scale wherein the MET broke its record thus pointing towards meticulous investigation backed by sophisticated intelligence. On June 24, following the 114 million pound haul as part of Economic Crime Command’s investigations, a 39-year-old woman was arrested. She has been called again in relation to the latest crackdown.
The anonymous, global and decentralized nature of these cryptocurrencies makes them the latest tool used by criminal organizations to launder illegal money. According to Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, though cash or physical money continues to be the king as it is preferred by the majority in the organized crime units, there has been a steady transition to these digital platforms where the same criminals are increasingly transferring assets in form of crypto.
He also added that though the crypto/digital asset territory was unchartered some years back, today the MET Police are in a much better position to stay ahead of these organized criminals. The department has brought in highly trained officers and specialist units who work diligently employing thorough processes to identify the trails left by the criminals. Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty is confident that the team would soon identify those at the center of these operations and disturb their illegal masked transfers.
Crypto Frauds Caught by the Police in the Past
While the British Police crackdown was one of the biggest targeting the organized crime industry, there have been investigations and unearthing of frauds at the individual level too. In 2019, a total of $2.9 million worth of Bitcoin was seized by the US Department of Justice from an Ohio man. In Karnataka, India, a hacker was arrested in connection to $1.2 million worth of Bitcoin transactions carried out through hacking of government portals as well as bitcoin exchanges and poker sites. South Korea had seized 191 Bitcoins in connection to a child-porn cybercrime case in 2018. November of last year saw the FED having seized nearly 70,000 Bitcoins or $1 billion worth of BTC from a web marketplace on Dark Web.
Though cryptocurrencies are slowly sweeping into financial systems and are thought to be the next big thing, they come with their own set of cons. The very features that make cryptocurrencies convenient, simple and hassle-free also make them the perfect route for criminals and those involved in illegal activities. Greater security, transparency, effective tracking mechanisms and continuous technological advancement will make these digital assets safer and prevent their misuse for illicit gains.
About MET Police
MET Police refers to The Metropolitan Police Service, which is a territorial police force in charge of law enforcement in the Metropolitan Police District, comprising the 32 London boroughs. Its jurisdiction does not include the ‘square mile’ of the City of London; the latter is managed by the City of London Police. The MET offers police services to the 6.8 million residents of the Greater London Area (Excluding the ‘square mile’ of the City of London).