Australian Federal Police Sets Up Cryptocurrency Unit
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has established a new crypto unit to focus on monitoring cryptocurrency-related transactions. The unit has been up with the goal to target money laundering as more criminals seek to bypass the financial system.
The Australian Financial Review reported on Monday that the AFP has established a new crypto unit to focus on tackling cryptocurrency-related criminal activities. The national manager of the AFP’s criminal asset confiscation command, Stefan Jerga, has said that the use of cryptocurrencies in criminal activity has increased significantly since the AFP made its first seizure in 2018. The AFP has upped its focus on illegal crypto transactions after it noticed it was seizing much more in criminal assets than originally expected. The AFP even reported on Monday that it reached its goal of seizing $600 million from financial crimes two years ahead of schedule. The target was only expected to be reached by 2024.
Jerga said that since 2020, the authority seized $380 million in residential and commercial property, $200 million in cash and bank accounts, and $35 million in boats, cars, aircraft, luxury items, and cryptocurrencies. He added that crypto seizures were very small in comparison to “traditional” criminal assets but added that the increased focus is expected to provide authorities with more insights. In August, authorities in Australia confiscated millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies and other assets in Canberra after investigating a major money laundering case.
The manager of the AFP said that the environment forced the creation of a standalone team rather than having officers “picking up some of this skill set as part of their overall role.” He added that tracing cryptocurrency transactions across blockchains is “really, really important” along with national security, child protection, and others.
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