6.3 billion dollar China fraud: Woman guilty of laundering bitcoin in UK

A woman accused of converting bitcoin into cash and property to help hide the proceeds of a 6.3 billion dollar fraud was convicted of one count of money laundering after trial.

Publication: 20.03.2024 - 17:30
6.3 billion dollar China fraud: Woman guilty of laundering bitcoin in UK
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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 a woman known to Wen as Zhang Yadi, whose real name is Qian Zhimin.

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.

Wen, 42, denied three counts of money laundering, giving evidence that Zhang told her she was independently wealthy and that Wen did not have any knowledge of criminality.

She was found guilty by jurors of one count on Monday following a trial at Southwark Crown Court. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on two other counts.

On Wednesday, prosecutor Max Baines said Britain's Crown Prosecution Service was not seeking a retrial of Wen on those two counts, meaning the guilty verdict could be reported.

Wen will be sentenced next month for the single count of money laundering of which she was found guilty.

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