Interpol reportedly creates dedicated unit to fight crypto crimes

The International Criminal Police Organization is reportedly planning to strengthen its crackdown on cryptocurrency-related crimes by forming a dedicated division.

Interpol, the world’s largest global police organization, has set up a special team in Singapore to help governments fight crimes involving virtual assets, the Indian news agency Business Standard reported on Oct. 17.

Interpol made the announcement at a press conference ahead of its 90th general assembly in Delhi, which is to be attended by high-profile police officials from its 195 members from Oct. 18 until Oct. 21.

According to Interpol secretary general Jürgen Stock, the absence of a legal framework for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) poses major challenges to law enforcement agencies. “Because very often, agencies are not properly trained and properly equipped” to address cryptocurrency crimes in the beginning, Stock reportedly noted.

Stock also pointed out that cryptocurrency and cybercrime will be the main focus of the agenda at Interpol’s general assembly in India.

Praveen Sinha, the special director of India’s Central Bureau of Investigations, reiterated that it has been increasingly difficult to monitor cybercrime. He also highlighted Interpol’s role in establishing and developing better police cooperation at the global level.

“The only answer is international cooperation, coordination, trust, and real-time sharing of information,” Sinha said.

The news comes soon after Interpol issued a “red notice” to global law enforcement in September for the arrest of Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon. South Korean prosecutors in Seoul previously asked Interpol to circulate the “red notice” for Do Kwon across the agency’s 195 member nations to find him following the collapse of the Terra ecosystem in May 2022.

Related: Terra co-founder Do Kwon says he’s ‘making zero effort to hide’ following Interpol notice

Interpol’s latest efforts to better track cryptocurrency crimes are not the agency’s first initiative to get more crypto-related skills. Interpol has been working to get more expertise to learn about cryptocurrency transactions and identify criminal activity in the darknet as early as at least 2015.

In 2020, Interpol partnered with the cybersecurity firm Trend Micro to reduce cryptojacking affecting routers across South-East Asia. The agency also worked with the South Korean data intelligence startup, S2W Lab, to analyze dark web activity, including cryptocurrency transactions in March 2020.