Takeaway worker guilty of laundering billions with bitcoin

An ex-takeaway worker living in the UK has been found guilty of laundering funds for a Chinese fraudster and managing over £2 billion ($2.5 billion) in bitcoin that has now been seized by police.  

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced Jian Wen’s conviction at Southwark Court on Wednesday. It noted that the 42-year-old was guilty of one of three money laundering charges. 

Wen had reportedly lived a ‘modest lifestyle’ in Leeds before meeting Yadi Zhang, real name Zhimin Qian. Zhang is a Chinese national and a wanted fugitive accused of making $6 billion in bitcoin through scamming nationals in China.  

The two moved to London and bought a six-bedroom manor house in 2017. They reportedly claimed to be international jewelers with Wen acting as a ‘front person.’ Zhang gave Wen 3,000 bitcoins, worth £15 million at the time and Wen helped convert it into various luxury items, cash, and property to disguise the true source of the funds.

Wen was hampered by difficulties and reportedly struggled to buy luxury property in London when faced with know-your-customer checks. She also bought property in Dubai and jewelry in Zurich to help convert the crypto into ‘more tangible assets.’

Wen is scheduled to be sentenced on May 10. Police have frozen more than £2 billion in bitcoin from Wen’s crypto wallets, and the CPS claims its investigation “could result in the forfeiture of the seized bitcoin regardless of whether Wen or the other suspect are convicted.” 

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