April 23, 2024

UK Authorities Gain Enhanced Powers to Freeze and Seize Crypto Assets in Crime Crackdown


In a move to combat cryptocurrency-related crime, the United Kingdom government has announced that law enforcement agencies will be empowered to freeze crypto assets associated with criminal activities without the need for a prior conviction. The legislative changes, detailed in statutory instrument documentation related to the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023, grant expanded authority to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The amendments, effective from April 26, provide the NCA with the ability to confiscate and seize crypto assets suspected of being involved in illicit activities swiftly. This process will bypass the requirement for lengthy legal procedures, streamlining law enforcement actions against cybercrime, scams, drug trafficking, and other criminal activities involving cryptocurrencies.

Under the new legislation, authorities will have the power to directly retrieve crypto assets from exchanges and custodian wallet providers. Additionally, if necessary, the option to destroy crypto assets is also available. Although the document did not delve into the specific method of asset destruction, burning tokens – a common practice involving transferring tokens to a designated burn wallet address – is a widely recognized means to take them out of circulation.

The move underscores the UK government’s commitment to enhancing its capability to tackle crypto-related crimes effectively. By granting more authority to law enforcement agencies, the amendments aim to address the growing challenges posed by the illicit use of cryptocurrencies, providing a legal framework to seize assets linked to suspicious activities in a more streamlined manner.

Digital Assets Desk

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