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The UK government emphasized the increasing use of digital assets for crimes. Criminals use cryptocurrencies to launder profits from drugs, cybercrime, and fraud.
The UK government has introduced the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill to empower authorities to easily seize, freeze, and recover crypto when used for illegal activities. The bill aims to crackdown on money laundering and fraud across the UK. The proposal was initially promised in May and is now introduced by the Home Office, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Serious Fraud Office, and Treasury. The first reading was in the House of Commons on Thursday. And the second will hold on the 13th of October.
The primary purpose of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill is to position the UK as a location that is habitable for legitimate business while driving out “dirty money.” Moving forward, business owners would need to verify their identities before registering. This is to tackle the use of registered companies to facilitate money laundering.
The UK government emphasized the increasing use of digital assets for crimes. Criminals use cryptocurrencies to launder profits from drugs, cybercrime, and fraud. The new law, if passed, will give law enforcement agencies like the National Crime Agency easy and quick access to seize, freeze, and recover crypto assets.
“The use of this digital currency has significantly increased in recent years, with the Metropolitan Police reporting a big rise in cryptocurrency seizures last year. Strengthening powers in the Proceeds of Crime Act will modernize the legislation to ensure agencies can keep pace with the rapid technological change and prevent assets from funding further criminality.”
UK Passes Bill to Curb Use of Crypto for Money Laundering
These new measures will build upon the Economic Crime Act was introduced after Russia invaded Ukraine. The UK government was able to sanction certain entities with the Act. Also, the authority froze their UK assets and hinder further funding of the Kremlin’s war machine. Graeme Biggar, the director general of the National Crime Agency, commented. He talked about how domestic and international criminals have been abusing UK company structures while laundering illegal funds. He added that the reforms will help the agency to “crack down on both.”
Whether the bill or not, the UK authorities have not been entirely powerless on crypto. London’s Metropolitan Police seized a record 180 million British pounds of crypto associated with international money laundering. The seizure happened in July 2021 after a loot of 114 million in June. With the new bill, the UK authorities will have more power to face criminals using crypto in laundering unlawful funds.
According to the chief executive of Companies House, Louise Smyth, the precautions in the bill are highly significant. The chief executive noted that there are remarkable changes to the UK’s company register in its 170 years of history.
“If agreed, these changes will allow us to actively improve and maintain the integrity of the register like never before; inspire greater trust in our data, crack down on economic crime and further drive confidence in the UK economy,” explained Smyth.