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Victims of an investment fraud scheme are seeking the recovery of 61,000 Bitcoin seized in a money laundering investigation, valued at $4.3 billion. The scheme, involving the Chinese company Tianjin Lantian Gerui Electronic Technology, defrauded over 128,000 people between 2014 and 2017. The UK government became involved when Jian Wen attempted to launder funds by purchasing a property with Bitcoin but was unable to explain the source of the funds. A raid on a property rented by Wen and her boss, Zhimin Qian, led to the seizure of 61,000 Bitcoins worth $1.7 billion.

Jian Wen was put on trial for assisting in converting Bitcoin into cash, jewellery, and property but denied all charges. However, she was found guilty of three counts of money laundering. Following her conviction, a group representing the scam victims is seeking the return of the Bitcoin purchased with their money. They have submitted a letter to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Security, urging them to negotiate with the UK government for the return of the seized Bitcoin valued at $4.3 billion. The victims do not want the Bitcoins to be confiscated by the UK government and not returned to them.

The victims have faced serious economic losses, leading to family breakdowns, separation from their children, indebtedness, and lack of funds for medical treatment. However, since last May, victims who enrolled with Chinese police have received two payouts from a task group on the fraud headed by Tianjin authorities. They have received 8% and 5% of their initial investment capital back, recovered from Lantian Gerui and its former employees. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has also committed to assisting with the return process and estimated that 207,000 people invested in the fraudulent scheme.

At the time of writing, the UK government had not issued a statement on how it intends to deal with the seized Bitcoin, and Zhimin Qian, the suspected mastermind of the operation, is still at large. If no one else is deemed entitled to the asset, it would typically be divided and distributed to the police and Home Office. However, the victims are adamant about reclaiming what is rightfully theirs and are seeking the cooperation of both the Chinese and UK governments to prove their status as legitimate owners of the seized Bitcoin. They have the backing of almost 2,500 signatures from the victims.

The victims of the investment fraud scheme are determined to fight for the return of the 61,000 Bitcoin seized in a money laundering investigation worth $4.3 billion at the time of publication. They have faced significant economic losses as a result of the scam and are advocating for justice to be served. Through their efforts to negotiate with both the Chinese and UK governments, they hope to reclaim the Bitcoin that was purchased with their hard-earned money. Despite the challenges they have faced, including family breakdowns and indebtedness, they are persevering in their quest to seek restitution for the wrongdoing they have suffered.

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