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Woman from Hendon convicted in relation to Bitcoin laundering worth around £7.5 million

A woman from Hendon has been convicted following a five-year cryptocurrency investigation led by specialist Met crime officers.

Jian Wen was convicted in relation to 150 Bitcoin being laundered which is worth around £7.5 million in this money.

As part of the operation, Met detectives linked her to a wider fraudulent cryptocurrency operation and seized over 61,000 Bitcoin. This seizure is estimated to be worth over £3.4 billion.

Wen, 42, of Parade Mansions, Hendon, was found guilty on Monday, 18 March of entering into or becoming concerned in a money laundering arrangement following a trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Woman from Hendon convicted in relation to Bitcoin laundering worth around £7.5 million Harrow Online
Piles of cash recovered. Image: Met Police

The court heard how the source of the cryptocurrency was an investment fraud in China. Wen arranged the movement and payments of the Bitcoin seized while being fully aware it had been funded through criminality.

Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Prins, whose team led the investigation, said: “Thanks to the hard work and perseverance of highly skilled detectives in the Met, we have been able to disrupt a sophisticated economic crime operation – the sheer scale of which demonstrates how international criminals seek to exploit cryptocurrency for illegal purposes.

“Our team have helped secure justice and have persevered to trace this Bitcoin and identify the criminality it was linked to.

“This verdict and lengthy five-year investigation demonstrates that we’ll leave no stone unturned in our pursuit to catch criminals who look to enjoy the proceeds of illicit funds – no matter how complex the case.”

Following the guilty verdict, Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Prins also thanked colleagues in the Crown Prosecution Service and National Crime Agency for their dedicated support and expertise throughout the investigation.

This landmark conviction demonstrates the work being undertaken by officers and staff, who are using innovative technology to tackle criminal activity linked to serious and organised crime as the Met builds A New Met for London.

During the course of the long running investigation officers searched several addresses, seizing a number of exhibits. They reviewed 48 devices, including phones and laptops, as well as thousands of digital files – many of which were translated from Mandarin. This led to them identifying online accounts where the Bitcoin was stored.

Woman from Hendon convicted in relation to Bitcoin laundering worth around £7.5 million Harrow Online
Note written by Jian

Detectives discovered that Wen attempted to buy multi-million-pound properties in London valued at £23.5 million and £12.5 million. Wen’s audacious plans were halted when she couldn’t show a legitimate source of funding for the Bitcoin.

Andrew Penhale, Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: “Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are increasingly being used by organised criminals to disguise and transfer assets, so that fraudsters may enjoy the benefits of their criminal conduct. This case, involving the largest cryptocurrency seizure in the UK, illustrates the scale of criminal proceeds available to those fraudsters.

“Although the original fraudster remains at large, the Metropolitan Police and CPS have successfully secured a money laundering conviction against Jian Wen, an individual employed to launder criminal proceeds. The CPS will now work to ensure, through criminal confiscation and civil proceedings, that the criminal assets remain beyond the fraudsters’ reach.

“The CPS is committed to working closely with law enforcement and investigatory authorities, to bring to justice individuals and companies who engage in laundering criminal proceeds through cryptocurrency.”