“Criminals increasingly exploited financial technology and crypto assets” that could harm “the U.K.’s economy and institutions,” said the agency.
NCA Seizes Crypto Worth $33 Million
The British National Crime Agency (NCA) published its annual report 2021-22 this week. The NCA “leads the U.K.’s fight to cut serious and organized crime, protecting the public by targeting and pursuing those criminals who pose the greatest risk to the U.K.,” its website states.
The report details that between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, the NCA seized property worth £59.79 million, stating:
Seized property held by the NCA as at 31 March 2022 consisted of £59.79m … in cash, motor vehicles and other valuables suspected of being derived from criminal activity.
The NCA also revealed that £26.894 million ($32.75 million) in cryptocurrency was among the property seized. In contrast, no cryptocurrency was seized in the year 2020-21. The agency did not specify which cryptocurrencies it seized.
The NCA also noted in the report that “Criminals increasingly exploited financial technology and crypto assets” that could harm “the U.K.’s economy and institutions.”
Morgan Heavener, a partner at consultancy Accuracy, commented: “The NCA has been forced to move swiftly to try and stem the use of these cryptocurrencies in financial crimes. The lack of regulatory oversight around cryptocurrencies makes them attractive for criminals seeking to move funds around the world.”
Other British regulators have also seized cryptocurrencies over the years. In January, 12 U.K. police forces announced that they seized cryptocurrency worth approximately £322 million in criminal investigations in the last five years. In July last year, the British Metropolitan Police said it seized £180 million in cryptocurrency as part of a money laundering investigation.