London’s Metropolitan police seized nearly £180 million ($248,993,100) of bitcoin on Saturday as part of a money laundering investigation.
The seizure, announced on Tuesday, is only the latest in a string of such raids, including the confiscation of £114 million ($157,567,950) of the cryptocurrency last month. Police spokesmen told the press that criminal organizations were using cryptocurrency, including bitcoin, as a way to launder their ill-gotten takings.
These most recent raids occurred after intelligence was passed on to the police regarding the transferring of assets belonging to the criminals.
London’s Metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner Graham McNulty stated “While cash still remains king in the criminal word, as digital platforms develop we’re increasingly seeing organised criminals using cryptocurrency to launder their dirty money.”
He added that it represented the largest amount of cryptocurrency that had ever been seized by authorities in the UK. The spokesman noted that it may even be one of the largest-ever seizures of digital currency in the world.
The haul was discovered on Saturday after the Met’s Economic Crime Command received the tip.
In June, a 39-year-old woman was arrested in the UK on suspicion of money laundering. She has been interviewed under caution over the £180 million discovery as well, according to the Met.
Bitcoin takes nose dive in value in 2021
One bitcoin is now worth approximately $32,495, having fallen from its zenith, which it reached in April of 2021, of $65,165.79. This means, of course, the sum confiscated on Saturday may have been worth nearly double that amount as little as three months ago.
The cryptocurrency took a major tumble on the world stage on April 23 of this year, wiping $200 billion off the market as the alternative currency plunged below $50,000.
Other digital currency suffered as well in the cryptocurrency massacre.
A proposed capital gains hike on the part of President Biden, which is expected to raise long-term capital gains taxes for the wealthiest Americans to a whopping 43.4%, was thought to be behind the massive sell-off of cryptocurrency.
After Bitcoin, the original digital currency, hit the market more than a decade ago, it had its best year ever in the last twelve months, gaining more than six times its value in that time period.
Observers noted that around 8:50 AM Eastern Time on April 23, bitcoin showed that its worth had declined 6.6% in the preceding 24 hours, and was at $49,560, according to information from Coin Metrics.
Entire stock market plunges after capital gains tax announcement
This marked the first time that the digital currency, which was designed to be free from all regulatory authority, had traded below $50,000 since early March of this year. Another alternative digital currency, Ether, fell to $2,255, which represented a fall of 10.7%.
The Bitcoin assets were seized by the force’s economic crime command, which is tasked with overseeing the Greater London region, and the investigation is ongoing at the present time.
Detective Constable Joe Ryan stated regarding Saturday’s raid “Less than a month ago we successfully seized £114m in cryptocurrency. Our investigation since then has been complex and wide-ranging. We have worked hard to trace this money and identify the criminality it may be linked to.
“Today’s seizure is another significant landmark in this investigation which will continue for months to come as we home in on those at the centre of this suspected money-laundering operation.”