UK passes law to seize freeze and recover cryptocurrency
- UK: The bill was read for the first time in the House of Commons on Thursday.
- It aims to make it easier for law enforcement to recover cryptocurrency assets used for illegal activities like money laundering, drugs, and cybercrime.
The UK government said Thursday that it has introduced a bill to make it easier for law enforcement to seize, freeze, and recover cryptocurrency assets that are used for illegal activities like money laundering, drugs, and cybercrime.
The 250-page Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency bill, which was first promised in May, was introduced by the Home Office, the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, the Serious Fraud Office, and the Treasury. It covers more than just cryptocurrency. It was read for the first time in the House of Commons on Thursday, and the second time is set for October 13.
“Domestic and international criminals have been using U.K. company structures to launder money from their crimes and corruption for years, and they are now using cryptocurrencies more and more,” said Graeme Biggar, the head of the National Crime Agency. “These reforms, which have been a long time coming and are very welcome, will help us get tough on both.”
Even without the bill, the government still had some power. The BBC said that in July of last year, the London Metropolitan Police seized a record 180 million British pounds (US$200 million) of cryptocurrency that was linked to international money laundering. This was after a 114 million-pound haul in June.
The bill is meant to build on the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act, which helped regulators put sanctions on Russia and freeze assets there. Regulators were worried that some Russians were using crypto to get around sanctions that were put in place after Russia invaded Ukraine.
This month, the Treasury updated its rules so that cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet providers could report suspected violations of sanctions, just like other countries do. The US and EU also made it clear that their rules about sanctions apply to crypto.