UK arrests in alleged £1 billion illegal crypto firm

21 Jun 2024, 57 mins ago

On 20 June 2024 the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK’s financial watchdog, and London police arrested two people in connection with an alleged illegal cryptocurrency exchange worth more than £1 billion. The arrest followed searches on two properties. The arrests come on the heels of UK authorities being granted new powers in relation to the seizure and confiscation of cryptoassets.


According to the FCA website, more than £1 billion of unregistered cryptoassets are believed to have been bought and sold through this business. The FCA inspected the offices associated with the suspects and the police seized several digital devices during searches of two residential London properties.

The FCA appears determined to stop crypto firms operating illegally in the UK, stating that:

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”.

New powers for the seizure and recovery of cryptoassets

Some reports indicate that crypto crime amounted to more than £19 billion worth of transactions over the past year, and the FCA lists more than 13,000 businesses that it suspects of operating illegally in the UK.

The new powers will bolster the current criminal and civil regimes for the seizure and confiscation of criminal property. New technologies bring new challenges, and these newly installed powers will provide practical solutions to deal with issues connected to cryptoassets such as price volatility, practicalities in the seizure and recovery of cryptoassets and issues related to the storing of those assets.

Partner Thomas Cattee has written an article for Practical Law about these latest developments, “Legal developments in the seizure and recovery of cryptoassets”.

Gherson’s criminal investigations and litigation team

Gherson’s criminal litigation, regulatory and investigatory team combine a deep knowledge of criminal and regulatory law underpinned with a firm understanding of digital assets and blockchain technology. The team can provide strategic advice to anyone wanting to investigate and pursue a potential theft of cryptoassets.

The team is also able to provide advice to anyone facing investigation in relation to any allegation of criminality involving cryptoassets.

The Gherson team has written extensively on the topic of cryptocurrencies their regulation, and potential for fraud, some of our recent articles on this topic.

Conviction for money laundering follows the largest bitcoin seizure by UK authorities

What to do if you think you have been a victim to a crypto fraud or scam

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The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

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