Two arrests connected to suspected illegal £1 billion cryptoasset business 

The FCA, working with the Metropolitan Police Service, has conducted an operation to arrest 2 individuals, aged 38 and 44, suspected of running an illegal cryptoasset exchange.

More than £1 billion of unregistered cryptoassets are believed to have been bought and sold through this business.

The FCA inspected the offices associated with the suspects and the police seized several digital devices during searches of 2 residential London properties.

Both suspects were interviewed under caution by the FCA and released on bail. The FCA’s investigation into the case is ongoing.

Cryptoasset exchange providers must be registered with the FCA and comply with the UK money laundering regulations in order to operate legally in the UK.

Therese Chambers, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said:

'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.'

Notes to editors

  1. Since 10 January 2021, cryptoasset businesses providing certain cryptoasset services in the UK must be registered with the FCA under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (MLRs).
  2. Cryptoasset businesses need to be registered with the FCA under the MLRs, and comply with the requirements of the regulations, if they intend to provide certain cryptoasset services by way of business, and in the UK.
  3. Under the MLRs the FCA can impose directions on cryptoasset businesses which can prohibit them from operating. It is a criminal offence to breach a direction imposed under the MLRs.
  4. The FCA regularly warns consumers that cryptoassets are unregulated and high-risk, which means people are very unlikely to have any protection if things go wrong.
  5. The FCA publishes a list of businesses that it suspects are operating without our registration.
  6. The FCA cannot comment further at this time but will make further announcements when appropriate.
  7. Find out more information about the FCA.