Australian Federal Police Inaugurated a Crypto Unit to Target Criminals

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Australian Federal Police Inaugurated a Crypto Unit to Target Criminals:

The Australian Federal Police, an independent agency responsible for investigating crime and protecting the country’s national security, allegedly established a new cryptocurrency unit.

Australian Federal Police - APF
Australian Federal Police – APF

The reason is to detect criminals who use digital assets for fraudulent activities like money laundering, and bring them to justice.

Regulating digital asset sector has been a mission for the Australian government for a while now.

Last year, former Federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg,  said a

 “comprehensive payments and crypto-asset reform plan” is on the agenda for 2022.

Earlier this year, the nation’s newly elected Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, prioritized those plans.

According to reports, the national agency manager – Stefan Jerga – said the employment of cryptocurrencies in illegal operations had significantly increased compared to 2018.

With this, the AFP inaugurated a special cryptocurrency unit that will strive to encounter and punish defrauders for facilitating money laundering or other financial crimes with the help of bitcoin or altcoins.

“The environment was such that we felt a standalone team [was required], rather than a lot of officers picking up some of this skill set as part of their overall role. So we’ve now got a dedicated team that continues to grow,” Jerga explained.

The agency further revealed its target, which is to restrain over $400 million in proceeds of crime by the end of the financial year 2024.

In February 2020, the agency confiscated $260 million in residential and commercial property, $135 million in cash and bank accounts, and $24 million in cars, artworks, luxury items, and cryptocurrencies.

John Moss, Deputy Chief Executive of AUSTRAC, also supported the inauguration of the new unit, citing that cryptocurrencies had become part and parcel of the everyday financial ecosystem, and “criminals continue to adapt and find new ways to exploit emerging technologies.”

Cryptocurrency reform plan

Before 2021 came to a close, the Australian politician and former Federal Treasurer,  Josh Frydenberg , disclosed the country’s authorities aim to enforce a cryptocurrency reform plan in 2022.

The legislation was geared towards enhancement of innovation, protection of customers, and  transforming the nation into a global digital asset leader.

In March 2022, after the Australian Labor Party won the government elections, with its political leader, Anthony Albanese , becoming the next Prime Minister.

The new cabinet announced it’s agenda — To focus its efforts on three main issues:

  • Climate change (massive fires and floods often ravage Australia)
  • The galloping inflation
  •  Applying comprehensive rules to the domestic crypto sector.

Few weeks ago, the government strengthend it’s ground on those intentions, vowing to identify which digital assets are widely used in the country and placing them under a regulatory framework before the year’s end.

The process, called “token mapping,” should ensure safe investment environment for investors.

“With the increasingly widespread proliferation of crypto assets — to the extent that crypto advertisements can be seen plastered all over big sporting events — we need to make sure customers engaging with crypto are adequately informed and protected,” Treasurer Chalmers said.

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