Australian Federal Police Forms Cryptocurrency Unit to Tackle Money Laundering, Offshoring: Report

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) formed a unit to tackle the use of cryptocurrency as a means of money laundering and offshoring, the Australian Financial Review (AFR) reported Monday.

The unit was set up after the force's criminal asset confiscation command beat its 2024 target of seizing $600 million from the proceeds of crime by two years. The command was formed in February 2020.

Stefan Jerga, who heads the new unit, said the use of crypto in crime had increased significantly in recent years, and now required a standalone team.

“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’re national security-related, child protection, cyber – or the ability to trace cryptocurrency transactions across the relevant blockchains is really, really important," Jerga said, according to the report.

AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw said that while the amount of cryptocurrency seized was small relative to cash and property, a focus on crypto provided benefits through great intelligence insights into the business models of organized crime.

Read more: Australian CBDC Research Project Could Provide Crypto Clarity, Legal Expert Says