(Bloomberg) -- A woman facing a UK trial for allegedly laundering massive amounts of Bitcoin into cash was skilfully manipulated by a “super villain” who was the real mastermind of the $6 billion investment fraud in China, a London courtroom heard. 

Jian Wen, 42 years old, whose house police raided and seized Bitcoin worth over £1.7 billion ($2.1 billion), did not know that her employer’s wealth was linked to crimes, her lawyers told a London jury on Friday. 

Jian is facing trial for laundering massive amounts of money for the alleged architect of the fraud in China, Yadi Zhang, who was known as Zhimin Qian in China. Jian has denied the allegations.

Jian, a UK citizen, had no idea “that she was offering her own self as the sacrificial lamb” to Zhimin’s megalomaniac ambitions, her lawyer Mark Harris said. “Yadi Zhang is a super villain and there’s no other way to describe that.”

Zhimin was a “master of deception” who duped around 130,000 financially savvy and astute investors in China by creating ten investment vehicles managed through seven offices across China, according to Harris.  

She arrived in the UK in September 2017 under the name Yadi Zhang on a passport issued by the island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis passport and fled in 2020, two days before she was due to be questioned by the police in London, according to the lawyer. 

“Sheer force of personality, intellect and deceit” was used to control Jian, who became the fugitive’s “unwitting suspect,” Harris said.

Jian, who previously worked at a fast food takeaway shop, started laundering money for Zhimin in 2017,  converted Bitcoin into cash through middlemen and bought a flat in Dubai with the laundered cash, according to UK prosecutors.

Zhimin had a master plan that included having her own kingdom in Liberland, a strip of no-man’s land sandwiched between Croatia and Serbia on the western bank of the Danube River, Harris said, citing a notebook recovered in a police raid. 

In order for Zhimin’s plan to succeed, she “needed somebody to put their neck on the chopping block,” the lawyer argued. “Nobody in their right mind would sign up for that.”

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