Chinese fraud victims seek to recover USD 4.3 billion worth of Bitcoin

Monday 15 April 2024 14:05 CET | News

Victims of an investment fraud scheme in China have sought to recover USD 4.3 billion in Bitcoin held by the United Kingdom’s Government.

According to this announcement, a group representing the scam victims of an investment fraud scheme facilitated by the Tianjin Lantian Gerui Electronic Technology company in the region of China has submitted a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country. The initiative requested the institution to negotiate with the UK government in order to recover the seized Bitcoin. 

The group also sent a letter to China’s Ministry of Public Security, and it mentioned that it collected the signatures of nearly 2.500 victims at the moment, intending to submit them to the ministries for the action to take place. 


Victims of an investment fraud scheme in China have sought to recover USD 4.3 billion in Bitcoin held by the United Kingdom’s Government.

More information on the announcement

The funds were taken through an investment scheme conducted from 2014 to 2017 by Tianjin Lantian Gerui Electronic Technology. According to the Financial Times, an official of the company ran off with funds from more than 128.000 investors in the region of China. Furthermore, the money was converted into Bitcoin and arrived in London under a false identity. Later throughout the investigation, London’s Metropolitan Police seized multiple devices that contained BTC 61.000, currently worth more than USD 4.3 billion. 

The letter urges Chinese authorities to liaise with the UK judicial departments and submit relevant evidence in order to prove that the group was the legitimate owner of the amount of bitcoin. At the moment, the UK Government has not made any comments on how it will deal with the Bitcoin seized in the case. If the local authorities determine that no one else is entitled to the assets, half of the funds will go to the police and the other half to the Home Office. 

The Crown Prosecution Service mentioned in March 2024 that it had obtained from the High Court a properly freezing order against the company official, as well as a confiscation process which was set to be discussed in September. In addition, regarding the bitcoin sum, the CPS said it had launched a civil recovery investigation that could result in its forfeiture, but the institution gave no timescale for the process or any further details. 

The victim group that sent the letter to the Chinese authorities hopes that the UK will start taking applications for the return of money to individuals, a procedure which is based on the evidence that they provided to the local institutions. Currently, the Metropolitan Police did not respond to any requests to comment on the matter, but it mentioned in March 2024 that the Chinese authorities had not yet asked to have the money returned. 

According to four of the victims who lost money in the scam, a task force on the fraudulent activity that was led by authorities in the city of Tianjin made two payments since last May, for the individuals who enrolled with Chinese police. 

A local branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is currently assisting the refund process, while also putting the number of people who invested in the fraudulent scheme at 207.000. 

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Keywords: compliance, fraud management, fraud detection, cryptocurrency, crypto, crypto asset, Bitcoin
Categories: Fraud & Financial Crime
Companies: UK Government
Countries: China, United Kingdom
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