On May 5, 2023, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) announced that it is continuing to crackdown on illegally-operated crypto ATMs by launching joint inspections with the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit, Yorkshire; the Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit; and the Nottinghamshire Police Force, targeting businesses that operate these machines without authorization. The FCA reports that crypto ATMs enable criminals to launder illegally-obtained cash by allowing them to buy or convert these funds into cryptoassests. The FCA further reports there are currently no crypto ATM operators registered with the FCA. The recent inspections follow similar joint actions taken with regional organized crime units in Leeds in February 2023 and East London in March 2023. According to Therese Chambers, the FCA’s Executive Director of Enforcement, it is illegal to operate a crypto ATM in the UK without FCA registration, and the joint actions taken over the past few months have raised the public’s awareness of these illegal machines.
FCA Press Release | FCA Press Release (February 2023) | FCA Press Release (March 2023)