Police in the U.K., in collaboration with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), have raided several sites allegedly hosting cryptocurrency ATMs. “No crypto ATM operators currently have FCA registration,” the British financial regulator stressed, adding that it is “working with multiple law enforcement partners, including local police forces, to disrupt and disable illegal crypto ATMs.”
UK Regulator Cracks Down on Unregistered Crypto ATMs
Authorities in the U.K. have raided several sites around the city of Leeds in a cryptocurrency ATM crackdown. The raids followed a joint investigation between the country’s top financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and West Yorkshire Police’s Digital Intelligence and Investigation Unit.
The FCA announced Tuesday that it “has used its powers to enter and inspect several sites around Leeds suspected of hosting illegally operated crypto ATMs.”
Emphasizing that “Crypto exchange providers, which includes crypto ATM operators, in the U.K. must be registered with the FCA and comply with the U.K. money laundering regulations,” the FCA stressed:
No crypto ATM operators currently have FCA registration.
The British financial regulator noted that it is “working with multiple law enforcement partners, including local police forces, to disrupt and disable illegal crypto ATMs.” The FCA stated that it will review evidence gathered during the raids and “consider further potential enforcement action.”
In March last year, the U.K. financial watchdog published a warning on illegal crypto ATMs operating in the country. “None of the cryptoasset firms registered with us have been approved to offer crypto ATM services, meaning that any of them operating in the U.K. are doing so illegally and consumers should not be using them,” the regulator cautioned.
Mark Steward, executive director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said: “We will continue to identify and disrupt unregistered crypto businesses operating in the U.K.” While noting that “Crypto businesses operating in the U.K. need to be registered with the FCA for anti-money laundering purposes,” he warned:
However, crypto products themselves are currently unregulated and high-risk, and you should be prepared to lose all your money if you invest in them.
Detective sergeant Lindsey Brants of the Force Cyber team at West Yorkshire Police explained that the team gathered evidence across West Yorkshire and “established the locations of several live crypto ATMs.” Brants said that before sharing their findings with the FCA: “Warning letters were issued requesting the operators cease and desist using the machines and that any breach of regulations would result in an investigation under money-laundering regulations.”
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