In a bid to control financial crimes related to crypto, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) on Monday said that it has set up a new cryptocurrency division within the country’s police force.
The primary task of the unit will be to monitor crypto transactions and focus on money laundering through cryptos. The constitution of the new unit is in line with the FBI’s launch of a cryptocurrency unit called the Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit.
Stefan Jerga, the national manager of the AFP’s criminal asset confiscation command, said that the use of cryptos in crime has increased significantly since its first seizure of crypto assets way back in 2018. The police department decided to set up a specialized unit in response to the spurt in crime rate. Australia has witnessed a spike in crypto-related financial crimes in recent years and the police force has already seized assets worth over $600 million in illicit proceeds that were routed through cryptos.
The new police unit will also work to improve cryptocurrency expertise in the force. In the article which was published in the Australian Financial Review, Jerga said, “It’s targeting assets, but it’s also providing that valuable, investigative tracing capability and lens for all of our commands across all of our businesses, whether they are national security-related, child protection, cyber — the ability to trace cryptocurrency transactions across the relevant blockchains is really, really important.”