Home Editor's Pick The £2bn Bitcoin Bust: How a Takeaway Worker Laundered a Fortune

The £2bn Bitcoin Bust: How a Takeaway Worker Laundered a Fortune

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In a landmark case, Jian Wen, a 42-year-old former takeaway worker from Hendon, north London, has been convicted of entering into or becoming concerned in a money laundering arrangement at Southwark Crown Court.

The conviction is linked to the seizure of over 61,000 bitcoins, worth approximately £2bn at the time of the arrest and now valued at around £3.4bn due to the recent resurgence of the cryptocurrency. This seizure is believed to be the largest of its kind in the United Kingdom.

TLDR

Jian Wen, a former takeaway worker, has been convicted of a crime linked to money laundering involving over £2bn worth of Bitcoin.
Wen was involved in converting Bitcoin into assets such as luxury houses and jewellery.
The seizure of over 61,000 bitcoins, worth around £2bn at the time of the arrest and now equivalent to £3.4bn, is believed to be the largest of its kind in the UK.
Wen’s lifestyle changed dramatically, from living above a Chinese restaurant in Leeds to renting a six-bedroom house in north London for over £17,000 per month.
Another suspect thought to be behind the fraud remains at large.

Wen became involved in a criminal racket that converted Bitcoin into assets such as multimillion-pound houses and thousands of pounds’ worth of jewellery.

Her lifestyle underwent a dramatic change, from living above a Chinese restaurant in Leeds to moving into a six-bedroom house in north London with a monthly rent of more than £17,000. She posed as an employee of an international jewellery business and moved her son to the UK to attend a private school.

The property was on the market for £23.5m, Image from Sky News UK.

From autumn 2017, Wen attempted to purchase numerous lavish properties in London but faced difficulties passing money-laundering checks. Her claims of having earned millions through Bitcoin mining were met with skepticism.

Wen also bought jewellery worth tens of thousands of pounds in Zurich and properties in Dubai in 2019. Prosecutors stated that there was no legitimate evidence suggesting how the bitcoins had been acquired and alleged that the funds were linked to an investment fraud in China.

The Metropolitan Police carried out an extensive investigation, searching several addresses, reviewing 48 electronic devices, and examining thousands of digital files, many of which required translation from Mandarin. Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Prins, whose team led the investigation, emphasized the “sheer scale” of the operation, demonstrating how international criminals seek to exploit cryptocurrency for illegal purposes.

The conviction relates to the laundering of 150 bitcoins, worth about £7.5m. Another suspect thought to be behind the fraud remains at large. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has obtained a freezing order from the High Court while it conducts a civil recovery investigation that could lead to the forfeiture of the cryptocurrency.

Chief Crown Prosecutor Andrew Penhale highlighted the increasing use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by organized criminals to disguise and transfer assets, allowing fraudsters to enjoy the benefits of their criminal conduct.

He emphasized that the CPS will work to ensure, through criminal confiscation and civil proceedings, that the criminal assets remain beyond the fraudsters’ reach.

The post The £2bn Bitcoin Bust: How a Takeaway Worker Laundered a Fortune appeared first on Blockonomi.

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