UK Adds Crypto to New Economic Crime Plan

$12.5 million were raised from both the private and public sector to curb financial crimes.

The United Kingdom has included action on cryptocurrencies in its latest Economic Crime Plan (2019-2020) to curb money laundering and other illicit activities.

Along with other financial products, government agencies will primarily focus on digital currencies for their role in financing terrorism and criminal activities.

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Mentioning priorities of the plan, the official announcement stated that the government is “establishing a new crypto assets regime with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), going beyond international standards to create one of the most comprehensive global responses to the use of crypto assets in illicit activity.”

A well-funded initiative

Per the announcement, serious and organized crime is costing the UK government at least £37 billion (more than $46 billion) each year.

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To tackle this problem, the government received £6.5 million (around $8.1 million) from major financial institutions to reform the Suspicious Activity Reporting regime with an additional £3.5 million (almost $4.4 million) from the Home Office. Between 2010 to 2018, the Asset Recovery Action Plan recovered £1.6 billion (more than $2 billion) taken from criminals.

“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,” Philip Hammond, the chancellor of the exchequer, said.

Under the proposed plan, all crypto-related business operating in the country will have to follow anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CTF) regulations by January 2020.

Earlier this month, the FCA proposed a ban on the crypto derivatives and exchange-traded notes (ETNs) for retail buyers in the country, citing their lack of knowledge for investment. The agency, at the same time granted a license to Prime Factor Capital, the first crypto-based hedge fund in the country.

“Our new plan represents a step-change in our response, bringing together the public and private sectors to relentlessly pursue the perpetrators and their dirty money,” Sajid Javid, the home secretary, added.

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