UK Enforcement Action: Two Arrested in Connection with Suspected £1 Billion Illegal Crypto Scheme!

Crypto crime and money laundering
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In an enforcement action, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Metropolitan Police Service have apprehended two individuals, aged 38 and 44, suspected of operating an illegal cryptoasset exchange. This operation is part of a broader effort to clamp down on unregulated crypto activities in the UK. Allegedly, over £1 billion worth of unregistered cryptoassets has been traded through this illicit business.

During the UK enforcement action, authorities inspected the suspects’ offices and seized several digital devices from two residential properties in London. The FCA interviewed both suspects and subsequently released them on bail, and the investigation is still ongoing.

Cryptoasset exchange providers in the UK are required to register with the FCA and adhere to the country’s money laundering regulations to operate legally. This case underscores the importance of compliance and regulatory oversight in the burgeoning crypto industry.

Therese Chambers, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, emphasized the significance of this enforcement action: “The FCA has an important role to play in keeping dirty money out of the UK financial system. These arrests show we will do everything in our power to stop crypto firms from operating illegally in the UK.

Regulation and Compliance: Cornerstones of Crypto Business

Since January 10, 2021, all cryptoasset businesses offering certain services in the UK must be registered with the FCA under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (MLRs). These regulations are designed to prevent money laundering and ensure crypto businesses operate within the legal framework.

The FCA has the authority to impose directions on cryptoasset businesses, which can prohibit them from operating if they fail to comply with the MLRs. Breaching these directions is a criminal offense, highlighting the serious legal repercussions of non-compliance.

As the crypto industry continues to grow, the importance of regulation and compliance cannot be overstated. Ensuring that businesses operate within the legal framework protects both consumers and the integrity of the financial system.

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