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CryptocurrencyUK Law Enforcement Will Have an Easier Time Seizing Crypto Assets After...

UK Law Enforcement Will Have an Easier Time Seizing Crypto Assets After April 26

Law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom will soon be able to seize and freeze cryptocurrency assets with much more ease. An amendment to the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act expanding the power of law enforcement will take effect on April 26. 

UK law enforcement agencies will soon have more power to seize cryptocurrency assets after an amendment to the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 received legislator approval on February 29. 

National Crime Agency’s Powers Expanded

On Thursday, February 29, the UK government published Statutory Instrument documentation granting law enforcement agencies more power to freeze crypto assets used in crime. The document introduces amendments to the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023, allowing UK law enforcement authorities to freeze crypto assets used in crime without requiring a conviction from April 26. 

 “The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (Commencement No. 2 and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2024” expands the powers of the National Crime Agency to confiscate and seize cryptocurrency assets it suspects are associated with illicit activities without having to secure a conviction prior. 

First introduced in 2022, the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act will come into effect on April 26, allowing authorities the power to freeze and seize crypto-related items suspected to be linked to criminal enterprises, including terrorism. The Act addresses the growing instances of crypto being exploited by criminals in money laundering, fraud, and other illicit activities. 

According to 2023 provisions, the act introduces a civil recovery regime for crypto, a mandate to exchanges and custodian services to cooperate with law enforcement agencies by providing them access to relevant transactional information, and crypto asset confiscation orders allowing authorities to take crypto-related items. The legislation defines this as “an item of property that is, or that contains or gives access to information that is likely to assist in the seizure… of any crypto asset.” 

Amendments To Ensure Suspects Do Not Evade Arrest and Conviction

The recently published document also details that authorities can retrieve crypto assets directly from exchanges and custodian wallet providers, allowing authorities to destroy crypto assets if necessary. 

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill provisions allow crypto assets used in crime to be recovered without making an arrest first. The provision to avoid lengthy legal proceedings was introduced as a preventative measure as many individuals may avoid conviction by remaining overseas. 

Crypto and Stablecoin Regulation May Soon Be Passed

The UK is making headway as it prepares to introduce comprehensive crypto regulation to keep up with its European counterparts’ MiCA regulation. Speaking at an event on February 19, Bim Afolami, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, hinted the UK could pass comprehensive legislation regulating crypto and stablecoins within the next six months.

The “Crypto and Stablecoin Regulations 2024,” expected to bring clarity to stablecoin and staking services, will reportedly be passed before this year’s general election. 

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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