The woman was found guilty of having concluded or being involved in a money laundering transaction involving 150 bitcoins, or approximately 8.8 million euros.

A Chinese-British woman, former restaurant employee, was sentenced on Friday May 24 to six years and eight months in prison by a London court for laundering millions of pounds of bitcoins resulting from investment fraud in China.

“This was a sophisticated operation which involved significant planning,” said Judge Sally-Ann Hales, ensuring she had no doubt that the convicted person was aware of the criminal nature of her actions.

Jian Wen, 42, born in China and arrived in the United Kingdom in 2007, has since acquired British nationality. She was found guilty last March of entering into or being involved in a money laundering deal involving 150 bitcoins, or around £7.5 million (€8.8 million), between 2017 and 2022.

On behalf of Yadi Zhang, another Chinese national, this former take-out restaurant employee allegedly helped sell the profits from an investment scam that affected thousands of individuals in China. As part of this case, London police had previously seized more than 61,000 bitcoins, for a sum estimated at more than 3.4 billion pounds.

Buying a mansion for 23 million pounds

Justice showed that Jian Wen had organized the transfers and payments in bitcoins, in order to convert them into cash, jewelry, and real estate.

“I have no doubt that you have come to enjoy the good things in life paid for by Yadi Zhang,” and that “you, and to some extent your family members, have been generously rewarded for your services,” commented the judge.

The profits from her fraudulent activities allowed this former employee of a Chinese restaurant to leave her modest life and move into a multi-million pound house in a wealthy area of ​​north London. His attempts to buy expensive London properties, such as a £23 million mansion, had aroused suspicion.

The prosecutor’s office obtained authorization from the British High Court of Justice in March to freeze the seized cryptocurrencies “used by Wen and his “employer” to finance their extravagant lifestyle”.

Last April, nearly 2,500 of the approximately 130,000 Chinese victims of this fraud called on Beijing to demand the return of bitcoins seized in the United Kingdom, reported the Financial Times.

Sébastien Bordry with AFP


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