UK Passes Bill for Preventing Criminal Misuse of Cryptocurrency Assets 

A new bill has been passed in the UK parliament to stop cryptocurrency from circulating that would cause criminal activity relating to digital assets.

In September 2022, the bill was introduced in the Parliament and now it has reached its full stage of completion. The UK’s Economic Crime and Transparency Bill will help with monitoring cryptos that are used for criminal purposes. 

This new bill has the ability to authorize the freeze and seize any cryptocurrency that is being used for crime and terrorism activities. There have been no changes that have been made in terms of cryptocurrency but the regulations on cryptocurrency trading in the UK have increased. 

The Director of the National Crime Agency, Graeme Biggar, said that the increase of crime in cryptocurrency has reached its peak. Domestic and international criminals have exploited the UK’s crypto laws for their crime and corruption further harming the UK company structures. 

However, the UK authorities even without the bill had regulations to monitor the cryptocurrency. According to the BBC report, London’s Metropolitan Police captured a record of 180 million pounds (US $250 million) of crypto that was connected to an international money laundering scheme in July 2021 after a 114-pound haul in June 2021. 

The Met Police made the seizure after receiving intelligence that there was a transfer of criminal assets. Trading cryptocurrencies can be done in the anonymity of the sender and the buyer. Hence, tracking the people behind the crime can be difficult. The Met never revealed what kind of cryptocurrency was seized. 

The Deputy Commissioner of the Met Police stated that with the rise of digital platforms being created for cryptocurrency, criminals have increased their methods of laundering their money through these platforms. 

There was suspicion on a 39-year-old woman for the June 24th money laundering and was arrested. She was interviewed on the July 2021 case as well but now she has been released on bail. 

These were the biggest factors in the UK that led to the passing of the bill on July 4 2023. 

This bill was created to build on the earlier Economic Crime Act that helped with seizure and freeze of crypto assets in Russia. Regulators are concerned that some Russians are exploiting the use of cryptocurrency to avoid the imposition of the sanction following the Ukraine attack. 

The UK Treasury has updated its guidelines and wants crypto exchanges and wallet providers operating in the country to report breaches and sanctions to the authorities. The US and The European Union have extended their rules as well to cryptocurrency.

The UK as of 2022, was the latest Western jurisdiction to include crypto in their sanction rules. 

According to the reports, the UK suspects that after the invasion of Russia on Ukraine in February, and the majority of the countries imposed heavy sanctions on Russia, digital assets were being used to circumvent restrictions. 

There was a seizure in Ukraine at the same time it happened in the UK in the month of July 2022. The Ukraine authorities seized $3.39 million worth of assets, which included silver, land, and apartments. The brokers facilitated crypto purchases for its users in Russia and Russia-occupied-Ukraine. 

The bill does not change the crypto aspects of the bill, it merely adds to it. During previous proceedings, it was amended to ensure that the measures extended to terrorism cases and measures to help authorize the seizure of property in case of any suspicion of criminal activity. 

The UK government confirmed that battling crypto-crime has been part of their three-year economic crime agenda. The country has introduced crypto tactical advisors to help with this situation better. They will be part of the Police Department and help them recognize digital assets crime and seize the required assets. 

Disclaimer: This article was created for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. An asset’s past performance does not predict its future returns. Before making an investment, please conduct your own research, as digital assets like cryptocurrencies are highly risky and volatile financial instruments.

Leave a Reply