The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is working to tackle the increased levels of criminal activity around crypto by setting up a new cryptocurrency unit to combat money laundering, reports the Australian Financial Review.
As more and more criminals seek to bypass the financial system and funnel money offshore, the Australian Federal Police has set up a task force with a target to attain $600m in revenue from proceeds of crime by the end of the 2024 financial year.
According to the Australian Financial Review, Stefan Jerga, the national manager of the police force’s criminal asset confiscation command, highlighted that the use of crypto in criminal activities has significantly increased since the AFP’s first seizure in early 2018, therefore warranting the establishment of its first dedicated cryptocurrencies capabilities team in August.
“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,” Jerga said. “So we’ve now got a dedicated team that continues to grow.” Jerga said.
Jerga also revealed that the Australian Federal Police has not been in receipt of any further powers that would enable them to seize assets, but has instead renewed its focus on hitting criminals where it hurts in terms of closing out enforcement actions, leading to better-than-expected outcomes.
The Australian Federal Police Cracking Down on Crypto Crimes
Since February 2020, the Australian police reportedly seized $380m in residential and commercial property, $200m in cash and bank accounts, and $35m in cars, boats, aircraft, artworks, luxury items, and cryptocurrencies.
Furthermore, Jerga is of the opinion that, although the taskforce is predominantly focused on assets, it also provides valuable investigative tracing capabilities, and a lens for all crime fighting units across all sectors, whether it’s national security, child protection, or cybercrime—the ability to trace cryptocurrency transactions across the relevant blockchains is crucial.
On the Flipside
- The Oceanic country has witnessed a notable rise in crypto scams. According to new data from Scamwatch, Australians lost more than $205M AUD to attacks between January 1st and May 1st, marking a 166% increase compared to the same period in 2021.
Why You Should Care
The use of crypto in general is also on the rise in Australia, with the five most used cryptocurrencies in the country being Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Cardano (ADA), Dogecoin (DOGE), Binance Coin (BNB).
Find out more about Australia’s relationship with crypto below: