New French Bill Could Give Authorities Powers to Seize Crypto Assets

The country joins the U.K. in seeking to ensure authorities can get their hands on crypto linked to criminal activities.

AccessTimeIconSep 9, 2022 at 11:11 a.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:23 p.m. UTC
Drive the Crypto Policy Conversation Forward
October 24, 2023 • Convene • Washington D.C.Where the industry establishes the digital economy’s legal, regulatory and compliance best practices for the future.Register Now

In France, suspected criminals could have their crypto assets frozen under a new law presented by the country's government Wednesday.

President Emmanuel Macron’s government wants to join the U.K. in handing the police greater power to freeze assets that could otherwise escape their clutches and be laundered away.

“Too often, criminals convert the fruits of their wrongdoing into crypto assets, which can be more easily dispersed and therefore concealed,” said a report annexed to the government’s draft law.

The measures, which largely repeat those first tabled in March, would extend the rules that already apply to conventional bank account holdings to crypto assets. Bank holdings in France can be seized when authorized by a public prosecutor or investigating judge

While much of the bill is dedicated to online crime such as requiring ransomware payments to be reported to the authorities, it covers a range of other issues under French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin’s purview, such as creating 200 new rural police squads and updating the handling of domestic violence cases.

The proposals will be discussed at a meeting next week by the French Senate’s constitutional law committee, which is responsible for reviewing changes to the country's criminal code.

In the U.K., the government led by Boris Johnson promised new powers to seize and recover crypto assets as part of its Economic Crime Bill in May. On Wednesday, ministers reiterated their commitment to those plans, despite the subsequent change in prime minister.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Jack Schickler

Jack Schickler is a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.