On Monday, the Biden administration took a first step with the issuance of its five-pillar anti-corruption plan toward addressing a national security issue cited by the president in June — fighting corruption. The report titled “United States Strategy on Countering Corruption” finds that battling fraud and corruption needs to be a critical focus.
"As a fundamental threat to the rule of law, corruption hollows out institutions, corrodes public trust, and fuels popular cynicism toward effective, accountable governance,"
the report reads.
According to the outline, the government will organize its energies around five mutually supportive pillars of work, namely:
- Modernizing, coordinating, and resourcing U.S. government efforts to fight corruption
- Curbing illicit finance
- Holding corrupt actors accountable
- Preserving and strengthening the multilateral anti-corruption architecture
- Improving diplomatic engagement and leveraging foreign assistance resources to advance policy goals
Targeting criminal use of cryptocurrencies is part of the government’s outlined plan under the Strategic Objective 3.1: Enhance enforcement efforts for pillar number three.
"Cryptocurrency and corruption: [Department of Justice] DOJ will utilize a newly established task force, the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, to focus specifically on complex investigations and prosecutions of criminal misuses of cryptocurrency, particularly crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering infrastructure actors,"
the report stated.
The plan strives for a comprehensive approach to address corruption, with a particular focus on digital asset use.
"Advances in digital technology have dramatically improved the efficiency, convenience, and reach of digital alternatives to cash, and accelerated the usage of and commercial trading in digital assets across the world,"
the report said.
"At the same time, digital assets have been used in support of a variety of illicit activities, including proliferation financing, ransomware attacks, human and narcotics trafficking, fraud, corruption, and sanctions evasion."
On The Flipside
- The report noted that relaxed regulatory guidance of digital assets — which includes crypto — was a key method of exploitation by criminals. “Across an ever-more connected and digital world, corrupt actors exploit oversight and regulatory weaknesses in jurisdictions around the world to divert and hide the proceeds of their acts.”
- This is ironic since the U.S. currently has regulatory and oversight weaknesses regarding cryptocurrencies and digital asset governance – we’ll see if it follows its own advice in this regard.
Why You Should Care?
While short on specifics, the report provides a useful framework to prioritize and strategize a cohesive approach against crime and corruption going forward for the country.