Winner of the Legal 500 - 'Criminal, Fraud & Licensing Law Firm of the Year 2019'
"One of, if not the best, criminal specialist firms in the country" (Legal 500 | 2021 Edition)
Cryptocurrency Investigations & Disputes Solicitors
For over twenty years Kangs Solicitors has been successfully representing clients in investigations conducted by the major UK enforcement agencies which currently include the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Since 1997 we have been deploying our extensive resources, skill and expertise to advise corporate and individual clients in complex and often multi-jurisdictional investigations.
Our award-winning team of solicitors is nationally recognised for its work in Civil and Criminal financial investigations including cryptocurrency investigations and prosecutions.
‘This is a first-class firm with unrivalled experience.
Kangs Solicitors is adept at handling financial crime issues, multi-jurisdictional crime matters, regulatory investigations, tax fraud, bribery, corruption, cartels, insider dealing, investment fraud and money laundering.’
Both the leading law directories, the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, rank the firm in the highest categories for our work in financial fraud investigations and prosecutions.
Call Us For Confidential Advice
Our team is led by Hamraj Kang, a nationally recognised leader in the field of financial crime investigations.
We appreciate that an investigation by an enforcement agency can cause significant disruption to a business and its senior management. We work to minimise the risk of reputational damage and provide practical cost-effective solutions for our corporate and individual clients.
Kangs Solicitors has expert teams of civil lawyers and criminal fraud solicitors experienced in defending both civil and criminal issues that arise in the use, storage, ownership, transfer, investment and trading of cryptocurrencies and crypto assets.
We are here to assist you with these issues and our team of expert solicitors can be contacted for confidential and discrete advice as follows:
Cryptocurrency: A Legal Definition
The European Union’s 5th Money Laundering Directive (5MLD) came into force in January 2020 and defined a cryptocurrency as follows:
‘a digital representation of value that can be digitally transferred, stored or traded and is accepted…as a medium of exchange’.
Cryptocurrency and Crypto Assets
There are many hundreds of different types of cryptocurrencies and crypto assets, with Bitcoin being the most recognised.
A key feature is there is no centralised bank or nation state regulating a cryptocurrency. All transactions are conducted without such regulation.
A cryptocurrency is used in a variety of ways:
- a means of exchange, enabling goods and services to be paid for
- a payment platform
- a store of value and investment
- a sophisticated financial instrument, such as cryptocurrency derivatives.
The underlying technology is blockchain which creates a unique one line ledger for each transaction made using the cryptocurrency.
The ledger can be accessed from anywhere in the world with multiple copies being available at any one time. All copies are automatically updated simultaneously. This is what makes the blockchain technology different to a traditional ledger.
The blockchain technology does not rely on a centralised server. The information is encrypted, stored and protected to the level that cyber-attacks are considered unlikely to be successful.
Crime and Cryptocurrencies
The lack of regulation of the multi-billion dollars crypto assets market has led to concerns that the virtual currencies are being favoured by criminals to conduct their business.
Areas of concern that have been highlighted include:
- the block chain technology enables the anonymous and borderless nature of transactions resulting in money laundering on a large scale
- the lack of ‘Know Your Client’ and ‘Due Diligence’ checks conducted by many cryptocurrency exchange providers attracts professional money launderers
- criminals targeting innocent investors drawn to cryptocurrencies for the potentially large rewards from currency appreciation
- ‘boiler room’ type operations offering Initial Coin Offerings (‘ICOs’) which prove to not exist at all or, if they do exist, prove to be worthless
- theft of cryptocurrencies from personal wallets and from exchange providers as a result of cyber-attacks.
Particularly active in high value financial fraud cases, with notable expertise in ‘boiler room’ cases
It is an outstanding firm in defending financial crime cases
Frequently represents high-profile individuals
Recognised for astute command of financial crime
Renowned for its white-collar crime and fraud practice
Often instructed by senior legal, accounting and financial services professionals
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The European Union’s 5th Money Laundering Directive
In January 2020, the EU’s 5MLD came into force in an effort to tackle the increasing levels of worldwide money laundering, terrorist financing and corruption.
It is estimated that £80-100 billion of laundered funds passes through the UK’s financial system each year with a detection rate lower than 1%.
It is widely acknowledged that the rise in digital currencies has significantly contributed to this problem.
As a result, the 5MLD has focused on bringing changes to the cryptocurrency sector to bring it into line in many respects with the traditional financial and professional services sectors.
Changes for Exchange Providers and Wallet Providers
As a result of the 5MLD, both cryptocurrency exchange providers and custodian wallet providers are classed as ‘obliged entities’ which means they will have to adhere to the same Anti-Money Laundering regulations as traditional financial and professional service providers.
A cryptocurrency exchange provider is a business that exchanges a virtual crypto asset into money or to other virtual assets.
A custodian wallet provider stores and administers the virtual crypto assets on behalf of the beneficial owner/customer.
In reality both exchange providers and wallet providers will need to:
- conduct ‘Know Your Client’ Checks on their customers
- conduct ‘Due Diligence’ Checks on customers
- submit Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) to the NCA as and when appropriate
- register with the FCA within a certain time limit or lose the right to remain in business
- provide on demand data sharing with law enforcement agencies which means customers names and addresses will need to be disclosed.
As a result of the above regulations, the transactions will no longer be anonymous for customers.
How Can We Help?
Our experienced team takes a proactive approach to crypto assets investigations and any ensuing civil or criminal proceedings.
We are able to field a team of civil and criminal law specialists to assist you.
We have longstanding relationships with the leading barristers and QCs in the country in this specialist area of law.
The CRIMINAL LAW areas we can assist you with include:
- investigations by any enforcement agency such as the FCA, HMRC and the SFO.
- immediate representation and attendance at any Dawn Raid and execution of a search warrant to ensure the investigators do not exceed their powers of search and seizure.
- advice on challenging the basis and legality of a search warrant
- liaising and negotiating with the enforcement agency on your behalf
- representation at interviews and meetings with the enforcement agency
- representation in any ensuing criminal proceedings such as a prosecution for serious fraud, money laundering or regulatory breaches
The CIVIL LAW areas we can assist you with include:
- advice and assistance in relation to FCA regulations and compliance
- civil action to trace and recover funds invested innocently in crypto assets due to fraud
- contractual disputes involving crypto assets, exchange providers and wallet providers
- assistance with HMRC investigations and tax treatment of cryptocurrencies
- insolvency issues arising from crypto assets and cryptocurrency
We provide advice and representation in the following related areas:
- Cyber and Computer Crime
- FCA & Boiler Room Fraud Investigations
- Search Warrants and Dawn Raids
- Money Laundering Criminal Proceedings
- Proceeds of Crime (POCA)
Who Can I Contact For Help?
Hamraj Kang leads an award-winning team of lawyers nationally recognised for its excellence and expertise in financial investigations by UK enforcement agencies.
We welcome enquiries by telephone or email.
We provide an initial no obligation consultation from our offices in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
Alternatively, we provide initial consultations by telephone or video conferencing.
2 Wake Green Road, Moseley
Birmingham, B13 9EZ
0121 449 9888
Level 1, Devonshire House, One Mayfair Place
Mayfair, London, W1J 8AJ
020 7936 6396
76 King Street
Manchester, M2 4NH