Crypto News

UK Passes Bill to Seize Crypto from Illicit Activities

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency bill has advanced to the final stages of ratification thanks to the support of the UK’s House of Lords.

In an effort to provide financial authorities in the nation more authority to seize money obtained through financial crimes, including crypto-based heists, the measure was introduced in September 2022.

The bill passed through all five House of Commons and House of Lords stages in just one year, as the prospect of more extensive cryptocurrency regulation in the UK and other countries grows.

The proposed bill is currently in its last phase, which involves considering modifications and receiving Royal Assent.

To combat crypto-related crime, the House of Lords offered further amendments to the bill, including as the “failure to prevent fraud” clause, which broadens the circumstances under which a body can be held to have violated the law directly or through its employees for that body’s profit.

UK clamps down on crypto crime

The measure has been praised for removing unnecessary obstacles to thorough investigations and includes clauses that grant local authorities the authority to freeze cryptocurrency assets connected to crimes.

The bill has been praised by observers as a positive step toward preventing unscrupulous actors from quickly removing flagged assets from its jurisdiction and as having the potential to add millions to the public fund.

In particular, the bill would do away with the requirement for an arrest warrant before law enforcement may seize digital assets that have been highlighted in criminal investigations.

TRM Labs’ UK public sector director Phil Ariss praised the decision and said, “One area this will be used is on occasions where assets have been identified, significant links to criminality can be proven, but the subject of the investigation is unlikely to face justice in the U.K. Think of those committing fraud outside of the U.K. and targeting U.K. residents.”

The bill also covers civil forfeitures since crypto associated with illegal activity may be taken even if no criminal charges have been filed.

The risk presented by those who cannot be prosecuted but use their cash to support criminal activity or support terrorism would be lessened by the establishment of a civil forfeiture power particular to crypto assets.

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