The UK government has unveiled a bill aimed at cracking down on money laundering and fraud, specifically by expanding the authorities’ ability to target cryptocurrencies used for illicit purposes.
In an announcement on Thursday, the UK government he said lawmakers introduced the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill in parliament as part of efforts to drive “dirty money” out of the country. The bill included provisions to reduce “red tape around confidentiality obligations” and give law enforcement agencies the power to “compel businesses to hand over information that could be related to money laundering or terrorist financing,” including cryptocurrencies.
“The new law will make it easier and faster for law enforcement agencies such as the National Crime Agency to seize, freeze and recover crypto-assets – the digital currency increasingly used by organized criminals to launder the proceeds of fraud, drugs and cybercrime,” the government said. . “Strengthening powers in the Proceeds of Crime Act will modernize the legislation to ensure agencies can keep up with rapid technological change and prevent assets from funding more crime.”
Graeme Biggar, Director General of the UK’s National Crime Agency, said:
“For years, domestic and international criminals have laundered the proceeds of their criminal activity and corruption by abusing the structures of British companies and are increasingly using cryptocurrencies. These reforms – long overdue and very welcome – will help us to crack down on both.
Account, first announced by King Charles — who was still a prince at the time — was said to be “tackling illicit finance, reducing economic crime and helping businesses grow” during the Queen’s address to both houses of the UK parliament in May. The country’s Ministry of Economy and Finance is also working to incorporate stablecoins as a means of payment into its regulatory framework.
According to the UK government, the expansion of the authorities’ ability to seize, freeze and recover cryptocurrencies builds on legislation that “speeds up the imposition of severe sanctions” on individuals linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine. The bill came after a major upheavals in the United Kingdom with the death of Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Liz Truss, who replaced Boris Johnson.
According to the government, the Metropolitan Police claimed there was a “large increase in cryptocurrency seizures” in 2021 as the space and number of users grew. BBC reported in July 2021, police separately seized £114 million and £180 million – roughly $331 million combined at the time of publication – worth of cryptocurrencies linked to international money laundering.