The Biden administration took a first step on Monday by releasing its five-pillar anti-corruption plan to address a national security issue cited by the president in June – fighting corruption. The report entitled “United States Anti-Corruption Strategy“A fundamental threat to the rule of law, corruption empties institutions, erodes public confidence and fuels popular cynicism towards effective and accountable governance,” the report reads.
Five Pillars of the U.S. Government’s Anti-Corruption Action
According to the report, the government will organize its energies around five complementary work pillars, namely:
- Modernize, Coordinate, and Fund U.S. Government Efforts to Combat Corruption
- Fight against illicit financing
- Hold corrupt actors accountable
- Preserve and strengthen the multilateral anti-corruption architecture
- Improve diplomatic engagement and leverage foreign aid resources to advance political goals
A working group created to fight crypto-crime
Criminal use of crypto-currencies is part of the mix of embezzlement the government wants to tackle in its long list of anti-money laundering activities. Specifically, under the third pillar of the report, is Strategic Objective 3.1: Improve enforcement efforts. This section describes the creation of a Cryptography Working Group led by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“Cryptocurrency and Corruption: The Department of Justice will use a newly created task force, the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, to focus specifically on complex investigations and
prosecutions for criminal cryptocurrency abuses, in particular crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mix-and-tumble services, and money laundering infrastructure players.
The strategy also targets digital assets
The plan strives to take a holistic approach in its efforts to combat and correct corruption. He cites various types of actions he plans to target, such as the use of shell companies, real estate transactions, tax evasion, extortion, kleptocracy and administrative corruption. He also called the use of digital assets in particular as an area of attention.
“Advances in digital technology have dramatically improved the efficiency, convenience and reach of digital alternatives to cash, and have accelerated the use and trade of digital assets across the world,” the report states. At the same time, digital assets have been used in support of various illicit activities, including proliferation financing, ransomware attacks, human and narcotics trafficking, fraud, corruption and the ‘evasion of sanctions. “
Ironically, the report noted that the lax regulatory guidelines of digital assets – which includes crypto – was a key loophole for exploitation by criminals. “In an increasingly connected and digital world, corrupt actors are exploiting weaknesses in oversight and regulation in jurisdictions around the world to steal and hide the proceeds of their actions. “
It will be interesting to see if our government follows its own advice to correct the “supervisory and regulatory weaknesses” that currently exist and are specific to cryptocurrencies and digital assets in general. Especially since the only thing at stake is American national security.
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