Cryptocurrency: In the UK’s first crypto ATM raid, Watchdog and West Yorkshire police

As part of what is believed to be the first crackdown on crypto ATMs operated illegally in the UK, authorities have raided several locations around Leeds.

Multiple locations around the city that were thought to be hosting machines that allowed customers to buy or convert traditional currencies into crypto assets like bitcoin were the source of evidence.

The Financial Conduct Authority and the digital intelligence and investigation unit of the West Yorkshire Police conducted a joint investigation, which led to the raids. The regulatory body stated, “The FCA will review the evidence gathered during these visits and consider further potential enforcement action.”

Although the FCA does not regulate crypto assets, it does require all crypto-related businesses to register and demonstrate that they have effective controls against terrorist financing and money laundering.

Any cryptocurrency ATM operating in the UK is illegal because there are no FCA-registered ATMs.

Cryptocurrency: In the UK’s first crypto ATM raid, Watchdog and West Yorkshire police

According to DS Lindsey Brants of the cyber team at West Yorkshire Police, the department sent operators a warning letter instructing them to stop using the ATMs or face being subject to money laundering regulations in the UK. The FCA was then informed of the force’s findings.

According to Brants, “we are pleased to be able to work with the FCA on what we believe is a national first here in West Yorkshire.”

As it continues to investigate additional websites that may be hosting illegal crypto ATMs, the FCA stated that it was collaborating with “multiple law enforcement partners,” which included additional local police forces.

Mark Steward, the director in charge of enforcement and market oversight for the Financial Conduct Authority, stated, “We will continue to identify and disrupt unregistered crypto businesses operating in the UK.”

For the purpose of preventing money laundering, “crypto businesses operating in the UK must be registered with the FCA.” However, you should be prepared to lose all of your money if you invest in crypto products because they are currently unregulated and high-risk.

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