UK Implements New Laws to Seize and Destroy Illicit Cryptocurrencies

UK Implements New Laws to Seize and Destroy Illicit Cryptocurrencies

RegulationLaw

By Jakub Lazurek

28 Apr 2024 (2 months ago)

2 min read

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UK law now lets police seize and destroy illegal crypto without prior arrests

The UK has recently enacted laws that enhance law enforcement's powers to address cryptocurrency-related crimes. These laws allow for the immediate seizure, freezing, and destruction of cryptocurrencies linked to illegal activities, bypassing the need for prior arrests. This initiative aims to clamp down on organized criminals' growing use of digital currencies for money laundering.

Organized criminals increasingly exploit cryptocurrencies for illicit purposes, such as money laundering. The National Crime Agency reported a surge to £1.2 billion in illicit transactions in 2021. This alarming trend has necessitated stronger regulatory measures. Amendments to the legislation now permit authorities to seize cryptocurrencies directly without prior arrests. These adjustments follow a crime bill passed last year that simplified the confiscation procedures.

Home Secretary James Cleverly emphasized that these changes are vital for combating emerging threats and ensuring criminals cannot profit from their illegal activities. The updated laws also allow for confiscating devices and passwords linked to criminal investigations and authorizing the destruction of privacy coins, which offer high levels of anonymity and are commonly used for illegal transactions. This is intended to prevent these assets from re-entering the market.

Provisions have also been made to assist victims of crypto crimes in recovering their assets. The law's effectiveness was showcased in a recent operation with the U.S. that broke up a large drug network, seizing $150 million in cryptocurrencies. This operation and other successful prosecutions related to crypto-enabled crimes highlight the new legislation's importance and impact.

These new powers mark a critical advancement in the UK’s approach to regulating cryptocurrencies. The aim is to deter criminal activities and secure the financial system from the risks associated with digital currencies.

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