UK Government to Focus on Crypto Asset Space as Part of New Financial Crime Clampdown Plan


Because it’s mostly untraceable and irreversible, cryptocurrency is still the number one choice for criminals to carry out or hide criminal activity or ill-gotten gains. The last few weeks have seen a slowly increasing number of cities in the U.S. all fall victim to hack attacks by ransomware criminals who have demanded to be paid their ransoms in cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin. Because of the use of crypto by these marauders, the government of the U.K. has added the establishment of a harsher cryptocurrency regime, to its new plan for fighting financial misdeeds and reducing them considerably.

According to a publication on its official website, the government of the UK, among other steps, has now established an

“action on cryptoassets to ensure these are not being used for money laundering and other illicit activity.”

The new action plan is said to be a collaboration between the government, all its law enforcement agencies and authorities and also key players in the private sector.

The plan called the

“Economic Crime Plan 2019 to 2022”

includes

“action being taken by the public and private sectors to ensure that the UK cannot be abused for economic crime.”

The plan has already been agreed by Chancellor Philip Hammond, Home Secretary Sajid Javid, along with many major financial, legal, accountancy and property firms, and also the heads of various law enforcement agencies.

Other details include a £6.5 million investment for the years 2019 and 2020 aimed at restructuring the Suspicious Activity Reporting regime by heavy hitters such as Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC UK, Nationwide, Santander UK and RBS.

The new Economic Plan will also be

“going beyond international standards to create one of the most comprehensive global responses to the use of cryptoassets in illicit activity” through the Financial Conduct Authority.”

Furthermore, there will be an Asset Recovery Plan which will specifically be dedicated to the recovery of all profits from crime including profits in the U.K. and also outside it. Already, between 2010 and 2018, as much as £1.6 billion was successfully recovered.

According to the announcement, at least one out of every fifteen people of the U.K. are now easily becoming victims of fraudulent activity and these ill-gotten gains are funding the spread of other crimes including drug use and trafficking along with serious gang violence.

Speaking on this and the need for a new economic plan, Chancellor Hammond said:

“The UK has one of the toughest systems for combating money laundering, but too many people are still falling victim to fraud. This crime fuels everything from drug dealing to modern slavery, fundamentally undermining people’s faith in our financial system and impacting economic growth. By bringing together leaders from across government, law enforcement and business, we can better tackle the scourge of dirty money, and ensure the UK continues to be one of the safest places in the world to invest and do business.”

Earlier this month, the FCA declared that it will be making a proposal to outlaw the sale, marketing, and distribution of all cryptocurrency derivatives and Exchange-Traded Notes, to retail consumers.

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