April 29, 2024

Terrorists, drug dealers use crypto to raise, hide over £1bn illicit funds, UK laments

Terrorists, drug dealers use crypto to raise, hide over £1bn illicit funds, UK laments

By Biodun Busari 

The United Kingdom (UK) government has announced a crackdown on criminals such as terrorists, drug dealers, and fraudsters who use cryptocurrency to raise and hide money.

According to the UK government, over £1 billion illicit transactions occur via cryptocurrency annually.

The UK Home Office made this known in a recent post on its X official page declaring that the law enforcement agencies have been given the greenlight to go after those involved.

Vanguard reports that the UK has embarked on diverse policies bordering on immigration, economic and financial matters.

“Over £1 billion in illegal crypto transactions take place in the UK each year,” the UK Home Office said. “Drug dealers, fraudsters and terrorists use crypto to hide and raise money.  

“We’re giving law enforcement new powers to seize, freeze and destroy crypto assets,” it added.

This clampdown on illegal cryptocurrency operators in the UK is coming weeks after major stakeholders are found culpable of criminal activities.

In late March, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison in the United States, for the securities fraud conspiracy that doomed his cryptocurrency exchange and a related hedge fund, Alameda Research.

Bankman-Fried also was ordered to pay $11 billion in forfeiture at the sentencing in Manhattan federal court.

In another development, five days ago, the US prosecutors wanted Changpeng Zhao, the founder and former chief executive of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, to serve three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to violating laws against money laundering.

In February, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Olayemi Cardoso, said that over $26 billion in illicit flows has passed through the crypto platform Binance in the last year. 

The revelation led to the arrest and detention of two Binance executives by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

The two officials detained were Tigran Gambaryan, a US citizen and Binance’s head of financial crime compliance, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan who is a regional manager for Africa.

According to the ONSA, the duo were charged with four counts of tax evasion and with laundering over $35 million.

Meanwhile, Anjarwalla escaped from the custody of the security operatives, but was arrested by Kenya authorities, days later.