Australian police set up digital asset unit amid rising ‘crypto’ money laundering cases

Australian police set up digital asset unit amid rising ‘crypto’ money laundering cases

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has created a new unit dedicated to cracking down on crimes related to digital assets.

It was AFP Choking on money laundering of digital assets and other related crimes for years now. However, these activities are not coordinated by a single unit, which will make it more efficient, AFP’s Criminal Asset Forfeiture Commander Stefan Gerga Tell Australian Financial Review.

“The environment was such that we felt like an independent team [was required], rather than many officers acquiring some of these skills as part of their overall role. “We now have a dedicated team that continues to grow,” Gerga said.

The new unit aligns with similar global developments as more regulators focus on the fast-growing industry. In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently exploited A former police officer to head up the new digital assets unit starting in October. Earlier this year, the FBI launched the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, presiding Written by longtime prosecutor Eun Young Choi. The Securities and Exchange Commission also revamped and renamed the Crypto Asset Unit and the Electronic Unit, which doubled the number of employees.

Jirga revealed that the new Australian unit will focus on the confiscation of criminal assets, but that it will also play a large role in other related investigations.

“It targets assets, but it also provides valuable investigative tracking capability and a lens for all of our commands across all of our business, whether it’s related to national security, child protection, the internet — or the ability to track cryptocurrency transactions across the relevant blockchain really important,” he said.

AFP’s criminal asset forfeiture division has exceeded expectations, seizing more than A$600 million since February 2020. Only a marginal portion of this has been linked to digital assets, but AFP is taking no risks.

The launch of the new unit comes just months after the Executive Vice President of the Australian Financial Intelligence Agency, AUSTRAC, claimed That criminals were exploiting digital assets to launder money.

John Moss cited Chainalysis figures which found that criminal activity constituted 0.15% of global transaction volume. This was four times higher than the 0.035% share of transactions in the four largest crime-related banks. However, with Australian GDP at $1.8 trillion, the share of banks, although smaller in proportion, is much larger in actual size.

Watch: BSV Global Blockchain Convention Committee, Law & Order: Regulatory Compliance for Blockchain and Digital Assets

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