UK Seeks Enhanced Crypto Seizure Power

The British Parliament wants to widen the reach of authorities when it comes to cryptoasset seizures tied to criminal activity


Houses of Parliament in London | Source: Shutterstock


key takeaways

  • The wide-reaching Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill seeks to amend parts of the UK’s Proceeds of Crimes Act
  • Included in the bill’s provisions is a section dedicated to crypto proceeds and sanctions evasion

The UK government has introduced a bill that, among other things, will grant authorities additional powers to seize and recover crypto tied to suspected criminals.

Its Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill pushed through on Thursday seeks to amend several parts of the country’s Proceeds of Crime Act, while also bolstering anti-money laundering powers.

The legislation also represents the largest shakeup to the UK’s registrar of companies, the Companies House, with new powers to check, challenge or decline incorrect or fraudulent company information.

Designed to bolster laws aimed at curbing illicit proceeds, the government’s latest bill also targets sanctions evasion, for instance by Russia and Iran.

“Red tape around confidentiality liability will be eased to enable businesses to share information to more proactively prevent and detect economic crime including fraud and sanctions evasion,” the government said in a separate statement.

The 250-page bill, which has passed its first reading through Parliament, will now undergo a second reading in October before heading to the committee stage for assessment from experts and interested parties.

UK Crypto Regulations

The UK has made several steps to increase its oversight of digital assets and streamline regulation around the nascent asset class this year.

That included the introduction in July of a wide-ranging financial bill designed to phase out hundreds of pieces of EU-retained law and which seeks to regulate “certain types” of stablecoins as a form of payment. 

It would also grant the government new powers to direct regulators to review their financial rules under conditions deemed in the public interest.

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