Since digital assets have grown in popularity in recent years, crypto offences have catapulted to a topmost issue. As a result of the current market volatility and the risks associated with cryptocurrencies, the U.S. Fed has chosen a hawkish strategy to combat inflation. Australia, on the other hand, has established a police division that is devoted to crypto in an effort to address the problem.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP), the country’s law enforcement organisation, has established a new unit to thwart criminal elements who use cryptocurrency to bypass the financial system for money laundering and other illegal operations.
Stefan Jerga, the head of the AFP’s command for freezing criminals’ assets, who now has the right to seize an asset, pointed out that a rapidly rising number of cryptocurrency-related crimes had prompted the establishment of a specialised police unit for cryptocurrencies.
He cited the AFP’s 2018 seizure as evidence of the rise in crypto crimes in recent years and clarified that police with limited expertise to handle a broad case were insufficient. So in August 2022, a special team is given the go-ahead to address that issue, which will only get bigger over time.
“It’s targeting assets, but it’s also providing that valuable, investigative tracing capability and lens for all of our commands across all of our businesses, whether they’re national security-related, child protection, cyber – or the ability to trace cryptocurrency transactions across the relevant blockchains is really, really important”
The AFP’s criminal asset forfeiture command, established by Commissioner Reece Kershaw in 2020, accomplished its goal of seizing $600 million two years ahead of schedule, by 2024.
According to Mr Jerga, the task force did not need the authority to seize more conventional assets like criminals’ homes, cash, etc. Despite having little power, the crew exercised restraint more than was anticipated. The task force’s primary objective was to acquire information on technical developments in order to comprehend the environment for crypto crimes.
The Financial Service Ministry and the Australian Treasury Authority together initiated a cryptocurrency study initiative in August. After taking into account local and business interests in cryptocurrencies and potential future developments, the government took action.