London police announced on Tuesday they have seized a record £294 million (US $408 million) in cryptocurrency in less than a month, as part of an ongoing investigation into money laundering.

Fast facts

  • According to London police, their recent £180-million (US$248.8 million) seizure in cryptocurrency comes less than three weeks after a £114-million (US$157.5 million) seizure on June 24. The police did not disclose what kind of crypto was seized.
  • A 39-year-old woman, whom the police did not name, was arrested — and then released on bail — for alleged playing a central role in the money laundering.
  • “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,” said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, in a statement. The investigation is not yet over and is expected to last several months more.
  • The U.K. has been increasing restrictions on cryptocurrencies. Last week, two U.K. banks blocked British customers from sending money to one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Binance, after the British financial regulator banned the exchange from providing certain services in the country. The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has also said that many U.K. crypto companies failed to meet the requirements of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing laws.
  • Cryptocurrency-related crime is on the rise around the world. In the U.K., crypto-related criminal activity grew by an average of 24% annually between 2016 and 2020, according to a study by Crypto Head, a data aggregation site.