Woman jailed for laundering bitcoin in UK from $6.4 bln China fraud

The 61,000 bitcoin was worth around 1.4 billion pounds when police gained access in 2021

REUTERS May 24, 2024


A woman accused of converting bitcoin into cash and property to help hide the proceeds of a 5 billion pound ($6.4 billion) fraud was jailed for nearly seven years on Friday for money laundering after a trial in a London court.

 Prosecutors said Wen Jian helped hide the source of money allegedly stolen from nearly 130,000 Chinese investors in fraudulent wealth schemes between 2014 and 2017. She was not alleged to have been involved in the underlying fraud, which prosecutors said was masterminded by another woman who Wen believed was independently wealthy.

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As part of their investigation, British police seized wallets holding more than 61,000 bitcoin - making it one of the largest cryptocurrency seizures by law enforcement worldwide.

The 61,000 bitcoin was worth around 1.4 billion pounds when police gained access in 2021, prosecutors said during Wen's trial. It is now worth over 3 billion pounds.

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Wen, 42, denied three counts of money laundering and said she did not have any knowledge of criminality linked to the bitcoin. She was found guilty by jurors of one count in March following a trial at Southwark Crown Court. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on two other counts. Wen was sentenced on Friday to 80 months in prison for the single count of money laundering of which she was found guilty.


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