New UK law grants authorities power to seize crypto without arrest
The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act is part of the UK government's recent initiative to regulate the emerging industry.
The government of the U.K. has approved a bill enhancing law enforcement’s authority to confiscate cryptocurrency assets linked to criminal activities, including money laundering, fraud, and ransomware attacks.
According to the lawmakers’ website, the bill officially became law after receiving Royal Assent on Oct. 26.
Entitled the “Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill,” this legislation empowers government agencies, like the police, to confiscate cryptocurrency assets as part of an investigation without necessarily arresting an individual for a criminal offense.
The bill was introduced in September 2022 and has undergone several amendments and corrections to cover money laundering or terrorist financing.
A UK-based accounting company, Swindell Accounting, wrote in a blog post:
“The bill will also strengthen anti-money laundering powers and help facilitate better information sharing about suspected offenses. In certain situations, businesses will be able to share information more easily for the purpose of preventing, investigating, or detecting economic crime. Civil liability will not apply to breaches of confidentiality for businesses supplying information about economic criminal offenses.”
The approval of the bill will bolster the efforts of U.K. authorities in combatting crypto-related crimes. CryptoSlate reported that the Metropolitan Police had seized millions of crypto linked to crimes before its approval.
UK’s recent crypto regulatory efforts
This bill is part of the UK government’s recent initiative to regulate the growing cryptocurrency industry. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently introduced new regulations obligating companies to caution investors about the potential risks of losing their funds in crypto investment products.
On Oct. 25, the FCA expressed concern that several crypto firms were not complying with these promotional requirements and warned of imminent actions against violators. The regulations empower the government to impose unlimited fines on companies and even jail time for executives of these companies.