New UK bill would allow police to seize crypto before an arrest is made

A new UK bill, due to come into force later this year, would allow police to confiscate potentially illicit crypto before suspects have been convicted or even arrested, reports CoinDesk.

As it stands, police can freeze digital assets they suspect are linked to crimes such as drug trafficking, cybercrime, and terrorism, but they’re not allowed to seize them.

The new Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill would reportedly be particularly useful in cases where “assets have been identified, significant links to criminality can be proven, but the subject of the investigation is unlikely to face justice in the UK,” (via CoinDesk).

This would apply to criminals targeting UK citizens from outside the UK.

“This new bill enabling law enforcement to recover crypto assets in this way will be a powerful tool, and it is anticipated we will see a substantial increase in digital assets being recovered,” Louise Abbott, partner at Keystone Law said in a statement.

Phil Ariss, director of UK public sector relations at TRM Labs added, “Time is of the essence. I’m sure there have been instances worldwide where delays have caused law enforcement to lose the assets because the subject, a third party, has moved the assets.”

The majority of the seized crypto would apparently go toward funding the UK’s future economic crime prevention measures.

Read more: UK police say even £100M not enough to properly police crypto

Indeed, according to Isabella Chase, senior policy adviser at TRM Labs, “It would go either to the law enforcement agency that seized the assets or to fund economic crime work. And then half of it goes to the Home Office again solely to fight economic crime work which is really important.”

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