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Tuesday, January 9, 2024

UK Lords Pass Bill to Help Seize and Freeze Crypto Used for Crime

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The U.K.’s Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, which will help law-enforcement agencies seize and freeze crypto used for crime, took a step closer to entering the statute book after being passed by Parliament’s upper chamber on Tuesday.

While the House of Lords didn’t make changes to crypto aspects of the bill, during earlier proceedings it was amended to ensure the measures extended to terrorism cases and measures to help authorities seize property that can help identify crypto linked to crime were added. Plus, an amendment was added to ensure courts can ask authorities to seize and freeze crypto used for crime.

In March, the government said combating criminal abuse of crypto was a part of its three-year economic crime agenda. The country has introduced crypto tactical advisers to police departments nationwide to help identify and seize digital assets tied to crime.

“Domestic and international criminals have for years laundered the proceeds of their crime and corruption by abusing U.K. company structures, and are increasingly using cryptocurrencies,” Graeme Biggar, director general of the National Crime Agency, said in a September statement when the bill was introduced. “These reforms – long awaited and much welcomed – will help us crack down on both.”

Approval by the Lords means the bill returns to the House of Commons for the final stages before it is put into law. Once both houses agree on the document, the king will need to sign it into law. The bill can be sent back and forth between the chambers of Parliament until an agreement is reached.

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