Former Takeaway Worker’s Bitcoin Bust in £23.5M Home Bid

A former Chinese takeaway worker attempted to purchase a £23.5 million property in Hampstead, but police confiscated Bitcoin worth more than £1.4 billion, the court heard.

According to the allegations, Jian Wen, 42, served as a “front person” to assist in the money laundering of a £5 billion investment scam that Zhimin Qian conducted in China between 2014 and 2017.

The jury was told that Qian used a St Kitts and Nevis passport under the fictitious name Yadi Zhang and purchased cryptocurrencies intending to leave the country with the money. She left the country and is still missing after police searched the six-bedroom home they rented for around £17,000 a month in northwest London.

When police acquired access to devices carrying digital wallets storing over 61,000 Bitcoin in the summer of 2021, the gadgets were valued at over £1.4 billion.

Wen doesn’t deny handling the Bitcoin, according to prosecutor Gillian Jones KC, but she says she was Zhang’s caregiver; the jury will have to determine whether or not she knew it was the profits of the crime.

She mentioned that during Zhang’s 2017 flight into London. According to the prosecutor, Wen referred to Zhang as her “boss” and they claimed to be engaged in a global jewelry business that traded diamonds and antiques in China, Japan, and Thailand. 

The couple bought exquisite jewelry, including watches from Van Cleef & Arpels in Switzerland, valued at around £49,300 and £69,900, and traveled widely over Europe, selling Bitcoin. The houses were an eight-bedroom house available for £12.5 million, and a seven-bedroom mansion was listed for £23.5 million.

According to the prosecutor, Wen first claimed the cryptocurrency had been mined before claiming it was a “love present” and creating a deed of gift declaring Zhang had given her 3,000 Bitcoin, which was then valued at £15 million.

The prosecutor said to the jury, “That is quite a pay cheque. You are going to have to look carefully at the circumstances of that purported gift. A gesture by a very generous benefactor pleased with the care and assistance provided, or a device or sham to create an air of legitimacy as to the source of funds when Miss Wen attempted to purchase high value property on behalf of Miss Zhang.”

Read More

2024-01-31 19:32