Police warning over bitcoin laundering
Criminals could be laundering their money through cryptocurrency cash machines, the Metropolitan Police has said.
Scotland Yard has warned that illegal cash could be deposited into the machines - which converts the money into digital currency such as Bitcoin.
Detective Superintendent Nick Stevens, of the Met's Serious and Organised Crime Command, said they have identified the use of cryptocurrency in organised criminality and are taking action to combat the threat.
"Cryptocurrencies are not illegal, but they are unregulated, decentralised currencies that can be quickly transferred across borders and then converted into the currency of the country where the funds are received," he said.
"Organised criminal groups have been early adopters of cryptocurrencies to evade traditional money laundering checks and statutory regulations.
"Criminals have also used cryptocurrencies to purchase illegal commodities on dark market sites with anonymity." It is believed there are 91 cryptocurrency ATMs across the UK, the Met said.
The force said they are aware of the introduction of these ATMs - common in convenience stores and newsagents - which could be used by criminals to launder the proceeds of crime. The machines allow cash to be moved around without being traced.