The Metropolitan Police Service (UK) has announced today that it has seized nearly £180 million ($249 million) worth of cryptocurrencies from a money-laundering operation.
The police agency revealed it went into action after receiving intelligence about the operation earlier last month, leading to the arrest of a 39-year old woman.
According to the police, the woman is only but a smaller actor in the entire operation, as the agency is working to unravel the main accomplices of the entire money laundering operation in the coming months.
Although the authorities did not disclose the cryptocurrencies that were seized, the operation is considered as the largest cryptocurrency seizure in the region, “topping a record of £114 million which was set by the Met just a few weeks ago.”
After the seizure of the £114 million ($158 million) worth of cryptocurrency, the UK authorities have increased the scope of their investigation of money laundering-related operations within the region.
Ryan noted that the Metropolitan Police had worked round the clock to identify the missing link in the illicit operation, as it hoped to rid the region of money laundering activities.
“Today’s seizure is another significant landmark in this investigation which will continue for months to come as we hone in on those at the center of this suspected money laundering operation,” Detective Constable Joe Ryan said.
Cash Still Remains King in the Criminal World
Commenting on the development, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty said that criminals have devised several ways to launder ill-gotten funds, with fiat being the widely used method in the criminal world.
However, in recent times, criminals are now hiding their shady dealings via cryptocurrencies, leading the UK authorities to establish a special unit of trained officers to remain one step ahead of these criminals.
“Those linked to this money laundering are clearly working hard to hide it. Our investigation will stop at nothing to disrupt the transfer and identify those involved,” McNulty added.
McNulty’s comment of cash being king in the criminal world echoes those of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT).
Recall that in September last year, SWIFT noted in a report that criminals mostly launder money via traditional methods rather than with cryptos.
According to SWIFT, criminal actors usually conduct money laundering through front companies, cash businesses, money mules, and financial representatives.