The Metropolitan Police (Met) in the UK have confiscated almost £180m ($250m, €210m) in cryptocurrency as part of an ongoing investigation into international money laundering.

Believed to be one of the largest globally, it is a record seizure for the force serving the nation’s capital, London, and tops the £114m impounded in June.

The confiscations were made by detectives from the Met’s economic crime command following up intelligence about transfer of criminal assets.

A 39-year-old woman was arrested on 24 June on suspicion of money laundering offences. She was released on bail.

She was later interviewed under caution in relation to discovery of the near-£180m, of cryptocurrency on 10 July. She has been bailed.

Detective constable Joe Ryan described the investigation as complex and wide-ranging.

“We have worked hard to trace this money and identify the criminality it may be linked to.

“[The latest] seizure is another significant landmark in this investigation which will continue for months to come as we hone in on those at the centre of this suspected money laundering operation,” he added.

Deputy assistant commissioner Graham McNulty said: “While cash still remains king in the criminal word, as digital platforms develop we’re increasingly seeing organised criminals using cryptocurrency to launder their dirty money.

“Whilst some years ago this was fairly uncharted territory, we now have highly trained officers and specialist units working hard in this space to remain one step ahead of those using it for illicit gain.”

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