Australian APF Launch Crypto Crime Unit to Tackle Money Laundering

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The Australian Police Force (APF) has set up a new department dedicated solely to crypto crimes. 

According to a news publication, the focus of the unit is to target money laundering and offshoring of funds. A previous Acting National Manager of the AFP’s Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce known as Stefan Jerga is the head of the new crypto crime unit.

The police found a need for the unit after they noticed that cybercriminals were trying so hard to bypass traditional financial systems and obfuscate their funds’ source by diverting their loots through digital assets. 

So far, APF has recorded and confiscated over $600 million as proceeds from cybercrimes including those involving digital assets. The police department had envisaged this kind of figure for 2024 but the rate and volume of cybercrimes increased to the extent that it beat the said projection by two years.

As the head of the unit, Stefan agreed that crypto crimes have been on the increase in recent times, therefore, it requires a standalone team to tackle the issues. 

Stefan mentioned that the new unit’s responsibility is beyond digital assets, instead “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.”

APF, Law Enforcement, and Crypto

For almost a year now, the Australian senate committee has been pushing for the adoption of digital assets in its economy. 

The committee has committed its time to holding consultation sessions with key players in the crypto ecosystem with the aim of coming up with strategies that will place Australia among the high flyers in the crypto industry.

Additionally, the committee suggested that the tax rate for Bitcoin (BTC) transactions be reduced so as to encourage crypto adoption with the claim that digital currencies are not money, therefore, should not be treated as money under the law. A few days after, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) issued new guidelines for crypto investments.

Gradually, the country is creating a regulatory framework for the use of cryptocurrencies in the Australian economy.

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