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EU Agrees on New Crypto Regulations to Combat Financial Crime

Key takeaways:

  • New rules permit EU member states to freeze and confiscate crypto assets suspected of links to criminal activities, even those transferred to third parties.
  • Courts can confiscate “unexplained wealth” believed derived from organized crime if convinced assets stem from illegal activities.
  • Regulations aim to address cybercrime, money laundering and other financial crimes.
  • EU countries have 18 months to implement regulations after European Parliament adoption.

Background

According to the [press release](https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2023/12/12/council-and-european-parliament-agree-on-rules-on-freezing-and-confiscating-criminal-money/), EU officials agreed on December 12 to adopt new crypto regulations to combat [concerns over cybercrime](https://www.nber.org/papers/w30834) and illicit financial activities. The rules will allow authorities to:

  • Freeze and confiscate suspected criminal crypto assets, even after transfer to third parties
  • Seize “unexplained wealth” if courts determine it stems from organized crime

Support from Ministers, Lawmakers

Spanish Justice Minister Félix Bolaños García said the new rules will help “effectively combat organized crime.” US Senator Elizabeth Warren and cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase have also called for increased cryptocurrency regulation.

Next Steps

The EU Council is seeking final approval from the European Parliament before member states have 18 months to implement the regulations into national law. The rules specifically target crypto assets to combat money laundering and other illicit activities.

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