UK Wants to Make It Easier to Seize Crypto in Terrorism Cases

The government wants to mirror planned changes to the Economic Crime and Transparency bill to enable authorities to swiftly seize crypto assets linked to terrorist activities.

AccessTimeIconOct 14, 2022 at 9:33 a.m. UTC
Updated Oct 14, 2022 at 6:02 p.m. UTC

The U.K. government wants law enforcement agencies to be able to easily seize crypto assets used for funding terrorism.

The Home Office Department, which is the government arm responsible for immigration and crime, wants to mirror planned amendments to the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency bill – that will make it easier for authorities to seize crypto involved in crime – in the U.K. Terrorism Act 2000 and the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001.

“This is to ensure that our law enforcement agencies, including counter-terrorism policing, have all the necessary powers to effectively seize, freeze and forfeit crypto assets that could be or have been used for terrorist purposes," a spokesperson for the Home Office said in an email to CoinDesk.

The Economic Crime and Transparency bill was introduced last month and targets the use of crypto for criminal activities including avoiding sanctions such as those placed on Russia over the war in Ukraine. Mirroring these measures in the country's counter-terrorism rules gives authorities the power to freeze assets in cases like the arrest of U.K. national Hisham Chaudhary who was found guilty of using bitcoin to help fund the Islamic State.

"Crypto assets are increasingly being used for malign and terrorist purposes and we intend to crack down on this and we'll be bringing forward a government amendment to mirror the changes in part four of this bill into counterterrorism legislation," said Suella Braverman, secretary of state for the Home Department, at the second reading of the economic crime bill on Thursday.

While planning a crackdown on crypto used for illicit activities, the U.K. has also introduced bills to attract more crypto businesses to the country. The Financial Services and Markets bill, which will give regulators in the country more powers to regulate crypto, is currently being discussed in Parliament. The Electronic Trade Bill that could see trade documents stored on the blockchain was approved by the upper house of Parliament on Wednesday.


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Camomile Shumba

Camomile Shumba is a CoinDesk regulatory reporter based in the UK. She previously worked as an intern for Business Insider and Bloomberg News. She does not currently hold value in any digital currencies or projects.