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New Law Expands Police Powers to Seize Crypto in UK

A new law that gives law enforcement agencies greater powers to seize, freeze, and recover crypto assets has entered into force in the U.K. The law introduces provisions for police to “seize crypto assets more easily and convert them into money before a forfeiture hearing has taken place,” the British government explained, adding: “In exceptional circumstances, there will also be a power to destroy seized cryptocurrency.”

Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023

The U.K. government announced Thursday that the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023, which aims to “fight fraud, counter corruption, and bolster legitimate business,” has received Royal Assent. After being introduced to Parliament in September 2022, the bill underwent a year of debate and amendments before receiving Royal Assent and becoming law.

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act introduces powers that will allow British authorities to “proactively target organized criminals and others seeking to abuse the U.K.’s open economy,” the announcement details, elaborating:

Law enforcement agencies will benefit from greater powers to seize, freeze and recover cryptoassets.

“The National Crime Agency (NCA) will additionally gain greater powers which compel businesses to hand over information which is suspected to be used for money laundering or terrorist financing,” the announcement adds. “Unnecessary reporting by businesses will also be reduced, enabling the private sector and law enforcement to focus their existing resources on tackling high value and priority activity.”

Graeme Biggar, Director General of the National Crime Agency, commented: “This act is long-awaited and welcome. For too long criminals and corrupt elites have abused U.K.”

The British government further stated: “New powers will additionally allow law enforcement to target illicit cryptoassets. The NCA’s National Assessment Centre estimates that over £1 billion of illicit cash was transferred overseas using cryptoassets in 2021.” The announcement continues:

The act has introduced provisions for police and the NCA to seize cryptoassets more easily and convert them into money before a forfeiture hearing has taken place. In exceptional circumstances, there will also be a power to destroy seized cryptocurrency.

What do you think about this new U.K. law that expands police powers to seize, freeze, and recover crypto assets? Let us know in the comments section below.

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