Business

Steve Kaaru

UK drafts economic plan to crack down on crypto money laundering

The U.K. has announced a new Economic Crime Plan that seeks to stamp out ‘dirty money’ in the country. The plan was agreed between the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid and heads of major financial institutions, law enforcement and legal institutions.

According to a joint press release by the HM Treasury and the Home Office, the plan will see the public and private sector work closer than ever before to combat money laundering. The partnership will see improved levels of information sharing, technological innovation and resource pooling. “Criminals will have nowhere left to hide their ill-gotten gains,” the press release boldly claims.

One of the measures that the initiative will engage in will be the establishment of a new cryptoassets regime with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the U.K’s financial industry regulator. The new regime will go beyond international standards to create “one of the most comprehensive global responses to the use of cryptoassets in illicit activity.”

Some of the other measures the new initiative will enforce include boosting law enforcement capability “to better utilise data to proactively target fraudsters and those laundering dirty money.” It will also see the reforming of the Suspicious Activity Reporting regime, with leading banks such as Santander, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and RBS contributing £6.5 million ($8 million) to the initiative this year.

The Treasury also lauded the efforts of the various law enforcement agencies to make the U.K. a ‘world-leader’ in combating economic crime. However, the country still has a long way to go, with organized crime estimated to cost the country £37 billion each year. One in fifteen members of the public is believed to be falling victim to fraud.

The Home Secretary Sajid Javid commented:

Economic crime in all its guises threatens our security and prosperity and leaves a trail of victims in its wake. We’ve made progress in the fight to stop criminals profiting from their offending – but we must go further. 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.

The FCA has continued to be at the forefront in fighting crypto crime in the U.K. The watchdog has consistently warned the public of any new fraudulent companies that pose as legitimate crypto companies, the latest of which was a clone of Swiss Investment Corporation Limited.

The U.K. police have also cracked down on crypto fraudsters, arresting six of them last month in connection with the theft of $27 million in crypto. The six operated fake websites which misled unsuspecting users to send their cryptos.

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