A Chinese takeaway worker who had 61,000 bitcoin worth $1.8 billion seized by police found guilty of money laundering

webnexttech | A Chinese takeaway worker who had 61,000 bitcoin worth $1.8 billion seized by police found guilty of money laundering

Jian Wen was convicted of money laundering offense in a court in London on Wednesday.In 2021, police seized 61,000 bitcoin from digital wallets linked to the Chinese takeaway worker.Wen converted the crypto into cash and other assets on behalf of an international fraudster. A former Chinese takeaway worker was found guilty of a money laundering offense after police discovered that she’d converted bitcoin worth billions into cash and big-ticket items including jewelry and properties in Dubai. Jian Wen, 42, was convicted at Southwark Crown Court in London on Wednesday, the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service said in a press release. The case unfolded after police seized 61,000 bitcoin from digital wallets linked to Wen in 2021. The crypto haul, which was worth £1.4 billion ($1.8 billion) then and would now be valued at $3.8 billion, the CPS said. Prosecutors said Wen had helped an international fraudster who is still at large to hide the bitcoin, which had originally been stolen from nearly 130,000 Chinese investors between 2014 and 2017. Wen is not alleged to have been involved in that original fraud. Before meeting the woman she described as her “employer,” Wen had lived above a Chinese restaurant in Leeds. In 2017 she started converting the stolen bitcoin into cash, jewelry, and two properties in Dubai worth more than £500,000 ($640,000), the court heard. Wen also rented a six-bedroom property in north London costing about £17,000 ($20,000) a month and paid for her son to move over from China to attend a private school in the UK. Police became involved when Wen tried to buy multiple properties in London but struggled to convert her bitcoin into cash and to answer banks’ anti-money-laundering compliance checks, the CPS said. When challenged, the woman said she’d made the money legitimately through bitcoin mining, and later claimed her employer gave her 3,000 bitcoin then worth about £15 million. “Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are increasingly being used by organized criminals to disguise and transfer assets, so that fraudsters may enjoy the benefits of their criminal conduct,” said chief prosecutor Andrew Penhale in a press release. “This case, involving the largest cryptocurrency seizure in the UK, illustrates the scale of criminal proceeds available to those fraudsters.” Adrian Foster, another chief prosecutor, added that the CPS had worked with police to obtain freezing orders to preserve the seized cryptocurrency. “A CPS-led civil recovery investigation is running to establish that the frozen cryptocurrency is criminal property and to seek its forfeiture,” he said. Wen is due to be sentenced on May 10. Read the original article on Business Insider

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