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Australia is showing its dedication to achieving a swift result and placing criminal uses of cryptocurrencies under an immediate check.
With rising cases of crypto crimes across the world, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has taken proactive steps by opening up a new unit. The unit, as reported by the Australian Financial Review, will be focused solely on tackling the growing menace of cryptocurrency-based fraud and other related criminal activities.
Crypto Crimes Surge in Australia
According to Stefan Jerga who heads the AFP department where criminal assets are seized, crypto-based crimes are growing at an alarming rate. Hence, the need for the Australian Police to quickly come up with a team whose only job will be to checkmate this. For what it’s worth though, Jerga’s assertions may be justified.
In August alone, Australian authorities seized crypto and other crime-related assets worth millions of dollars in Canberra. This was after a major money-laundering investigation came to a conclusive result. The AFP also had the support of America’s Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (the “J5”) at the time.
Interestingly, the AFP’s department responsible for seizing criminal assets was just launched in 2020. And going by earlier projections, the department may be far ahead of its initial schedule. This is because, so far, it has seized no less than $600 million worth of criminal assets. However, that is a figure that was thought would be achieved only by 2025.
AFP Reveals Plans as It Doubles Down on Criminals
Meanwhile, the newly launched AFP unit is going to be a long-term project. According to Jerga, there are plans to grow the new unit’s team in numbers, as well as in technical support. But these are all in efforts to reduce criminal activities in the country, to the lowest possible.
It is also worth mentioning that the future looks bleak for crypto criminals in Australia. Just last month, new legislation was passed that gave Victorian police more confiscation powers. That is, now, they could seize a wider range of criminal assets including cryptocurrencies, cars, houses, and boats. In fact, criminals will automatically forfeit any of these found in their possession.
Additionally, the country is also looking to formulate its crypto regulations based on asset mapping. That shows its dedication to achieving a swift result and placing cryptocurrencies under an immediate check.
Without any doubt, Australia has come a long way since May 2016. That was when it held its first-ever Bitcoin auction after confiscating some criminal assets. And now, bad actors may just begin to think twice before carrying out any illicit activity in or around Australia.