The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, tabled in the United Kingdom’s parliament Wednesday, aims to combat cybercrime, money laundering, and “foreign kleptocrats” and to strengthen police powers over cryptocurrencies.
Although the bill does not particularly single out cryptocurrencies, it will make it easier and quicker for law enforcement agencies like the National Crime Agency to “seize, freeze, and recover crypto assets.” This can be done by updating and strengthening the “Proceeds of Crime Act,” a law passed in 2002 against money laundering.
Graeme Biggar, Director General National Crime Agency, in a statement, said that domestic and international criminals laundered the proceeds of their crime and corruption for years by abusing UK company structures and are widely using cryptocurrencies. He further added that these reforms are long-awaited and will help the law crackdown on both.
The Economic Crime Command of Britain’s Metropolitan Police (Met) raided twice and seized crypto worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the summer of 2021. The Met confiscated about $158.0 million after an extensive investigation into several instances of money laundering.
Further investigation led to an even larger seizure of $250 million, only three weeks later. The UK is usually supportive of cryptocurrency due to its potential as a revolutionary innovation. The previous British government was even more enthusiastic and also declared its intention to become a “global crypto asset technology hub” in April.