UK law enforcement has reportedly seized $435 million worth of crypto in criminal investigations in the last 5 years | Currency News | Financial and Business News

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British law enforcement has seized nearly half a billion dollars in bitcoin in the past five years, according to a report from New Scientist.

A quarter of the UK’s 48 police forces have found cryptocurrency – nearly all of which was bitcoin – worth £322 million, or $435 million, according to New Scientist, which has submitted Freedom of Information requests to departments for the data. .

Most of the illicit bitcoin has been discovered by Greater London Police, with 294 million pounds, or $398 million, of that total seized, while Greater Manchester Police seized 25 million pounds, or $34 million.

In a high-profile case in June, the London Metropolitan Police seized a record £114 million, or $154, worth of cryptocurrency. Just a month later, the same department set another new record when it took back 180 million pounds, or $249 million, according to a CNBC report at the time.

While bitcoin made up 99.9% of the digital assets seized in the UK, law enforcement also discovered ethereum, monero, dash and zcash, according to New Scientist magazine.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been a popular tool among criminals due to the difficulties in tracking accounts and asset holders.

In the United States, the Department of Justice seized $56 million worth of cryptocurrency in November in connection with a massive BitConnect crypto scam in which its promoters defrauded thousands of people out of $2 billion worth of bitcoin in 2017. In December, U.S. law enforcement authorities confiscated And the Japanese 3,879 bitcoin, which is now worth about $167 million, after a worker at Sony Life Insurance Company in Tokyo embezzled money from her employer.

A new report from Chainalysis finds that crypto crimes — particularly “rug pulls” in which developers abandon their crypto projects and disappear with users’ money — rose 81% to nearly $8 billion in 2021.