Two Arrested in Unregistered $1.3 Billion UK Crypto Operation

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  • The FCA has revealed taking down a crypto operation handling over £1 billion without registration
  • Officers have inspected offices and seized digital devices from two London properties
  • The suspects have been interviewed under caution and released on bail pending further investigation

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) yesterday revealed that it has taken down a crypto operation which took in more than £1 billion ($1.3 billion) without being registered. Officers from the authority recently inspected offices linked to suspects involved in unregistered crypto transactions, during which time police conducted searches at two residential properties in London, seizing several digital devices. The suspects, who have been interviewed under caution by the FCA, have been released on bail pending further investigation. 

UK Crypto Companies Must Register With FCA

Since January 2021, UK regulations require cryptoasset exchange providers to register with the FCA under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds Regulations 2017. Compliance with these regulations is mandatory for legal operation within the country, and the FCA has the authority to impose prohibitions on businesses that fail to comply, making it an offense to breach these directives.

Few details have emerged about the targeted operation, but seeing as it doesn’t seem to have been scamming victims the case will likely not result in criminal prosecution, meaning that further details will likely not emerge.

FCA Wants To Keep “Dirty Money” Out of the UK

Therese Chambers, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, emphasized the importance of this crackdown:

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.

Historically, the UK has been cautious in its approach to regulating cryptoassets and the platforms that offer them, although it has toughened its stance in recent years. Initial steps included requiring crypto businesses to adhere to anti-money laundering regulations, a move reflecting the government’s intent to integrate digital currencies into the financial system responsibly.

The FCA’s ongoing enforcement actions highlight the UK’s proactive measures to ensure the legitimacy and safety of the burgeoning crypto market.