The UK government is considering introduction of a digital pound as a long lead time activity, The Greater Manchester Police recovered over £10M in the last tax year through its economic crime unit, and corruption links were found in the UK’s Tier 1 (Investor) visa route according to a statement by the Home Secretary.
UK Government considering introducing digital pound
Committed to making the UK a world crypto hub, Andrew Griffith, the economic secretary to the Treasury, said "I want to see us establish a regime, and this is within the FSMB [Financial Services and Markets Bill, currently being debated in Parliament], for the wholesale use for payment purposes of stablecoins.".
Stablecoins are designed to have a predictable value linked to traditional currencies or assets such as gold. The proposed currency would sit alongside cash and bank deposits without replacing them, for use by both households and businesses.
China is the front runner in the global race, with a plethora of countries developing or exploring digital currencies. In July 2021, the European Central Bank took the first steps towards launching a digital euro, kicking off years of investigation and implementation.
The proposed introduction of a digital pound will be a long lead-time activity, as “being right was more important than being first, when it comes to regulating crypto”, given UK’s financial reputation, said Mr.Griffith. "We want the right regime, operated in the right way, that has the right balances in it," he continued.
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GMP’s Economic Crime Unit have successfully recovered over £10 million this tax year
Greater Manchester Police, through the creation of Operation Falcon in May 2022 has successfully recovered £11,242,753 this tax year in successful forfeitures. The Economic Crime Unit is made up of a number of specialist teams. The cash recovered is made up of over £5M from suspected criminal funds held in bank accounts by the Account Freezing Order Team (AFO), £3.5M from the Asset Detention and Recovery Unit (ADRU) who conduct civil investigations following seizures of cash and listed assets, (these are then invested back into the community), and over £2M from the Confiscation and Restrain Unit.
The Money Laundering Team conducts proactive and reactive investigations, followed by arrests and securing the illicit finances through convictions in court. “Just under half of the money is returned to GMP through the Home Office ARIS funding scheme which is used to fund local initiatives and charities,” said detective superintendent Joe Harrop who leads the Economic Crime Unit.
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Corruption links in UK golden visa review
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said in a statement that a review of the UK Tier 1 investor visa “identified a small minority of individuals connected to the Tier 1 (Investor) visa route that were potentially at high risk of having obtained wealth through corruption or other illicit financial activity, and/or being engaged in serious and organised crime.”
She stressed that the work carried out only implies a potential risk and that UK law enforcement is taking the action appropriate under their operational remits. Information on all high-risk individuals has been discussed with the Home Office’s independent operational partners and a range of actions are under consideration.
According to the statement, the operation of the Tier 1 (investor) visa programme has had a refusal rate for main applicants and their dependents of 7.9% for Entry Clearance applications, 4% for Leave to Remain applications, and for main applicants seeking Indefinite Leave to Remain (settlement) the refusal rate is 2.2%. The lessons learned from this review, and the ongoing monitoring of evaluations of the Tier 1 (investor) route along with the reforms made between 2014-2019 were a significant part of the evidence based on which the Government closed the route on 17th February 2022.
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