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Trump's budget requests funds to combat illegal effects of virtual currencies

By Marianne Curphey

Proposal to spend $127 million on fighting financing of terrorism, money laundering and crypto crime

US President Donald Trump is proposing a $127 million (£98m, €116m) budget allowance to help fight the financing of terrorism, money laundering and to combat crypto crime.

On February 10 the Trump administration submitted its 2021 budget proposal to Congress. Although the proposals, which amount to a $4.8tn (£3.7tn, €4.4tn) plan, are a long way from being approved, they are an insight into Mr Trump’s political and economic priorities.

Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2021, in the section for the Department of the Treasury, requests $127 million for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which links law enforcement and intelligence agencies with financial institutions and regulators.

“These resources would enhance FinCEN’s protection of data collected under the Bank Secrecy Act, which would increase its value to law enforcement agencies, and expand its efforts to combat emerging virtual currency and cybercrime threats,” it says.

The budget also requests provision for the Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI).

“TFI plays an increasingly important role in countering the Nation’s most critical national security and illicit finance threats, thereby reducing long-term risk, instability, and potential economic losses,” the document says.

Mr Trump has requested $173m (£134m, €158m) for TFI, a 40 per cent increase relative to 2017 funding levels, to strengthen TFI’s data analytics, intelligence, sanctions, and enforcement capabilities.

He also requests $15.7bn for the Treasury’s domestic programs, including $2.4bn for the US Secret Service, which the Budget proposes to transfer from the Department of Homeland Security.

In theory, this would strengthen the Treasury Department’s ability to investigate cryptocurrency and other emerging financial instruments.

“Technological advancements in recent decades, such as cryptocurrencies and the increasing interconnectedness of the international financial marketplace, have resulted in more complex criminal organisations and revealed stronger links between financial and electronic crimes and the financing of terrorists and rogue state actors. The Budget proposes legislation to return the US Secret Service to Treasury to create new efficiencies in the investigation of these crimes and prepare the Nation to face the threats of tomorrow,” it said.

FURTHER READING: Italian regulator shuts down foreign and crypto trading sites

FURTHER READING: Year in review: biggest cryptocurrency scams of 2019

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