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UK Financial Watchdog Clampdown on Cryptocurrency ATM Dealers in Leeds

As the global cryptocurrency industry continues to witness massive persecution in 2023, especially in the United States where the SEC in conjunction with other government agencies is clamping down on major crypto companies, looks like their UK counterparts have joined the party. News reaching us from Leeds, UK said that Leeds security has started clamping down on cryptocurrency ARM operators in the city.

Those arrested were accused of operating an illegal cryptocurrency cash machines. This statement was made after the government, through the Financial Conduct Authority inspected the said crypto machines. This event was said to be spearheaded by the West Yorkshire Police force, and it is their first time carrying out an operation like this. 

Investigations into the operations of the cryptocurrency ATM revealed that users of this machine can buy or sell their cryptocurrency assets like BTC, Ethereum, etc, and trade it directly for traditional cash by putting cash into the machine (if they wish to buy) or take it out (if they’d wish to sell). It was also discovered that this ATM works like the traditional ATM for fiat. 

There are speculations that new monetary transactions will affect the already declining value of the Pound. Note, that the British Pound has suffered many declines in the last few months as a result of the involvement of Britain in the ongoing Ukrainian – Russian conflict which has greatly affected their inflation rate. Spectators believe that it is not out of place to assume that the government is paranoid about the whole latest economic development.


The Government Reaction

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The UK government, while commenting on the matter had said that their reason for carrying out such operations is that the said machines are not registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They also stated that only this fact is enough to render their operations illegal.

According to some observers who are familiar with a situation, most of the machines like this which have been registered with the FCA require users to make crypto purchases through either a traditional bank transfer or an app. They can also go as far as withdrawing their profits from their sales from the said crypto cash machines.

The UK financial watchdog said that by working with many law enforcement agencies, including the city police to disrupt the illegal operations of these cryptocurrency cash machines which are mostly kept in restaurants, malls, post offices, and newspaper stands. The authorities also went ahead to warn about the implication of continuing with such operations; they believe that it is a perfect channel through which money launders leverage to carry out their activities. 

It was also discovered that the UK government had in 2020 hinted at this move as part of its anti-money laundering policies. From investigations gathered so far, it seems like the government knew about this operation long before now, but because of some unknown reasons have ignored its existence.

The UK Government Moves to Save the Day 

There are also reasons to believe that they are compelled by efforts by their US counterparts to curtail the operations of the cryptocurrency considering the unfavorable economic development caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine. It is important to note that any laundering offenses in the UK attract a two-year maximum prison term. 

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While responding to reporters, Lindsey Brants, a Sargent with the Cyber Team of the West Yorkshire Police said that they were able to uncover the perpetrators of these cryptocurrency ATMs after an intensive investigation into their operations. She went ahead to appreciate the corporation of the Financial Conduct Authority.

It was also gathered that the Financial Conduct Authority had earlier released a statement to those operators sometime in March 2022, warning them of a day like this. In a vox populi, conducted by reporters, it was gathered that these unregistered cryptocurrency machines have indeed been deployed in most of the money laundering activities in the UK.

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Brenda Collins

Brenda Collins is a seasoned crypto news writer with a deep passion for blockchain technology and its transformative potential. With years of experience in the industry, she has honed her skills in delivering concise and insightful analysis, making complex concepts accessible to a wide audience. Brenda's dedication to staying up-to-date with the latest developments in the crypto world ensures her readers receive accurate and timely information.

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