EU regulators who long wished to curtail anonymity for European cryptocurrency users have taken their efforts another step forward. The EU law enforcement agency (Europol), the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), and the Basel Institute on Governance have created a partnership on money laundering with cryptocurrencies.
This new working group will aim to: gather, analyse, and exchange information regarding the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of money laundering, and the investigation and recovery of proceeds of crime; organise annual meetings to increase the capacity to successfully investigate crimes in which cryptocurrencies are involved; and create a network of experts in this field, who can collectively establish best practices and provide assistance inside and outside the group.
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The group says that cryptocurrencies are “already transforming the criminal underworld”, and that there is a clear consensus that they “pose a money laundering and terrorism financing threat”. Europol, INTERPOL, and the Basel Institute on Governance are concerned about the seriousness of these threats and note the increasing use of new kinds of currencies.
They also explain that to trace assets transferred, laundered, exchanged or stored through the use of cryptocurrencies poses new and distinctive challenges to investigators and prosecutors, as does the seizure and confiscation of the proceeds of crime in cryptocurrencies.