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FCA and West Yorkshire Police raid crypto ATMs in Leeds

crypto atms
Image credit: Parilov via Shutterstock

The UK financial watchdog, along with West Yorkshire Police, has conducted a raid on several sites in Leeds suspected of hosting illegal crypto ATMs.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has gathered evidence from these sites, working with the Digital Intelligence Investigation Unit department of West Yorkshire Police.

Crypto ATMs are physical locations that are used to purchase cryptoassets. To legally operate, these ATM providers must be registered with the FCA and follow anti-money laundering regulations.

The regulator said that there are no crypto ATM operators that have received registration, meaning all machines of this kind in the UK are operating illegally.

“We will continue to identify and disrupt unregistered crypto businesses operating in the UK. Crypto businesses operating in the UK need to be registered with the FCA for anti-money laundering purposes,” said Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA.

“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.”

Det Sgt Lindsey Brants of the force cyber team at West Yorkshire Police said: “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.

“We then shared our findings with the Financial Conduct Authority. We are pleased to be able to work in partnership with the FCA in what we believe is a national first here in West Yorkshire.”

In March of last year, the FCA wrote to crypto ATM operators, warning of the consequences of operating without approval.