London Police have reportedly seized £1.4 billion worth of Bitcoin (BTC), believed to have been obtained from a major investment scam in China. This seizure is one of the largest of its kind carried out by law enforcement worldwide.
In other developments today, the German government also confiscated a large amount of BTC.
The statement came during the trial of 42-year-old Jian Wen, who is accused of laundering BTC for his former employer, who is suspected of having fled Beijing. Wen pleaded not guilty.
In 2018, police seized four separate devices containing more than 61,000 Bitcoins from a safe deposit box and a residence occupied by Wen and his then-employer Yadi Zhang. The total value of cryptocurrency seized in July 2021 was approximately £1.4 billion.
The prosecution alleges that Bitcoin originated from an investment fraud carried out by Zhang in China between 2014 and 2017. Zhang, whose real name is Zhimin Qian, is accused of defrauding more than 128,000 investors of nearly £5 billion before converting the funds into BTC and fleeing to London under a false identity in 2017.
According to the prosecution, Zhang has since fled the UK and remains at large. However, Wen was not involved in Zhang's alleged fraud. Wen is accused of helping Zhang convert some Bitcoins into cash, jewelry, luxury items and property.
*This is not investment advice.