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UK government moves forward on bill aimed at empowering authorities to seize crypto

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Lawmakers in the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom are moving forward with legislation aimed at expanding authorities’ ability to target cryptocurrencies used for illicit purposes.

In a meeting of the U.K. Parliament’s House of Lords on July 4, lawmakers conducted a third reading of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill — legislation introduced in September 2022 as part of efforts to streamline law enforcement’s authority to crack down on crypto-related financial crime. Members of the House of Lords did not appear to propose any changes related to crypto enforcement in the bill’s most recent reading, describing recommendations as “minor” or “tidying up” amendments.

A June 27 version of the bill included provisions amending existing frameworks to allow authorities greater flexibility in the confiscation and civil recovery of crypto assets. In addition, the legislation clarified the government’s authority over digital assets “intended to be used for the purposes of terrorism” or related reasons. U.K. lawmakers will consider all amendments to the bill before it can be made law by royal assent.

Related: UK financial watchdog reminds crypto firms of October deadline for marketing compliance

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In March, the U.K. government said it planned to “robustly” regulate crypto to fight the illicit use of digital assets as part of its economic crime plan from 2023 to 2026. At the time, lawmakers said they planned to pass the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill by the fourth quarter of 2023, as well as coordinate with various agencies to implement the Financial Action Task Force’s Travel Rule.

The House of Lords also conducted a third reading of the Financial Services and Markets Bill on June 19. The legislation, signed into law on June 29, was aimed at helping support the adoption of crypto assets in the country.

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