UK authorities will soon have less restrictions when seizing crypto

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The United Kingdom government recently released Statutory Instrument documentation, stating that UK law enforcement authorities will be able to freeze crypto assets used in crime without requiring a conviction from the end of April.

Published on February 29, the document outlines the amendments made to the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023, which expands the power of the National Crime Agency to confiscate and seize crypto assets the agency suspects are linked to suspicious illicit activities, without needing to go through extensive legal procedures.

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023. Source: UK Parliament

Additionally, authorities will be able to retrieve crypto assets directly from exchanges and custodian wallet providers. They will also have the option to destroy crypto assets if needed.

While it didn’t outline its process for doing so, the most common way to destroy a crypto token is through burning it, by transferring the tokens to a burn wallet address, taking them out of circulation.

The law will take effect on April 26.

In September 2022, Cointelegraph reported that the passed legislation aims to expand authorities’ ability to crack down on the use of crypto in crimes like cybercrime, scams and drug trafficking.

Related: UK could pass stablecoin, staking laws within six months: Report

One of the provisions of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill allows the recovery of crypto assets used in crimes without making an arrest first, as some individuals may avoid conviction by remaining overseas.

However, Cointelegraph recently reported that a British national who was a victim of crypto fraud, losing approximately $46,000 to scammers, declared that UK authorities may be “ill-equipped to handle crypto crimes against UK residents.”

Meanwhile, the UK government recently stated its intention to pass new laws regulating stablecoins and crypto staking within the next six months.

During a crypto event hosted by Coinbase in London on February 19, Economic Secretary to the Treasury Bim Afolami disclosed that the government is aiming to complete regulation before tnext year’s election, which is set to happen no later than January 28, 2025.

“We’re very clear that we want to get these things done as soon as possible. And I think over the next six months, those things are doable.”

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