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Fraud victims call on China to help recover $4.3 billion worth of bitcoin confiscated by UK police

This notification is due to the international nature of the crime and the fact that cryptocurrencies are often stored on global exchange platforms.

Date: 2024-04-15 Author: Marek Stiller
Fraud victims call on China to help recover $4.3 billion worth of bitcoin confiscated by UK police

Victims of the investment scam have called on China to negotiate with the UK government to recover 61,000 bitcoin seized as part of a money laundering investigation, valued at $4.3 billion at the time of publication.

This amount is the result of a $6.2 billion wealth management scam conducted between 2014 and 2017, led by Chinese company Tianjin Lantian Gerui Electronic Technology, in which more than 128,000 people were defrauded.

The UK government became aware of the situation after former restaurant employee Jian Wen tried to launder funds by buying a property worth $30 million with Bitcoin. However, the transaction could not be finalized because Wen was unable to explain the source of the funds.

This led to an investigation, which culminated in a raid on a property rented by Wen’s “front person” and her boss Zhimin Qian, the suspected mastermind of the operation. During the raid, investigators seized 61,000 Bitcoin worth $1.7 billion at the time.

Under pressure to explain the damning situation, Wen initially claimed that Bitcoin had been mined. She eventually changed her story, claiming it was a “love gift” from Qian, who fled the country after the raid.

Eventually, Jian Wen was put on trial for helping Qian convert Bitcoin into cash, jewelry and property. Wen denied all charges, but on March 20, Southwark Crown Court convicted her of three counts of money laundering.

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Claims of fraud victims

Following the conviction, a group representing victims of the scam decided to reclaim the Bitcoins purchased with their money, now worth $4.3 billion.

According to reports, the group has sent a letter to China’s Foreign Ministry, urging it to negotiate with the UK government for the return of the “huge amount” of seized Bitcoins.

They have also contacted China’s Ministry of Public Security, claiming they have the support of nearly 2,500 victim signatures and want to forward them to both ministries.

The letter calls on the Chinese government and British judicial departments to cooperate to provide evidence of their status as “rightful owners.”

The group said:

“We do not want and will never accept a situation in which Bitcoins are confiscated by the UK and not returned to us.”

At the time of this writing, the UK government has not issued a statement on how it intends to deal with the Bitcoins in its possession, and Qian is still at large.

However, if the UK government assesses that no one else was entitled to the assets, they will usually be divided up and handed over to the police and the Home Office.

However, the victims, who “suffered extremely serious economic losses resulting in the breakup of their families, separation from their children, indebtedness and lack of money for medical treatment,” were not left without help.

The four victims who lost money as a result of the scam say that since last May, victims who reported to Chinese police have received two payouts from a fraud task force headed by Tianjin authorities.

They said 8% and 5% of their investment capital had been returned, along with assets recovered from Lantian Gerui and its former employees.

In addition, the local branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the country’s largest lender, has pledged to assist in the repayment process and estimates that 207,000 people have invested in the fake scheme.

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Marek Stiller
Marek Stiller
Founder of the "Cryptocurrency for Beginners" channel on YouTube. He collaborates with Łukasz to form the Arena Trading group, while at the same time being passionate about blockchain technology. His knowledge and experience in the cryptocurrency industry help beginner investors better understand this dynamic market.
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