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Cryptocurrency Investigations & Prosecutions
If you are being investigated or prosecuted relating to your business’s use of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, the specialist team of solicitors at JMW is here to provide you with the expert legal advice and representation that you need.
Our business crime lawyers are well versed on the risks associated with cryptocurrencies and, as such, are well placed to help you deal with external investigations carried out by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and, ultimately, avoid prosecution.
To speak to us about the consultation and advice we can provide, speak to Mike Rainford or Rob Eakins in our team today. Call 0800 652 5559 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will give you a call back as quickly as possible.
What is Cryptocurrency?
In simple terms, a cryptocurrency is a digital currency that makes use of cryptography to ensure transactions are secure. In addition to operating as a medium of exchange, some users view the purchase of cryptocurrencies as an investment, and numerous exchanges have been set up to facilitate the trade in such digital assets.
Cryptocurrency transactions are underpinned by blockchain technology, which creates a permanent and unalterable online ledger of every transaction made using the currency. Bitcoin is the first and most widely used cryptocurrency, and it is in fact possible to view every Bitcoin transaction that has taken place since its launch in 2009.
Examples of cryptocurrencies include:
Many reputable businesses of all sizes are now using cryptocurrencies as part of their day-to-day trading activities, ranging from global companies like Microsoft to art galleries in London.
In 2017, Dadiani Fine Art became the first gallery in the UK to accept payment in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, with the hope that such an approach would make the art market accessible to a wider variety of customers.
As cryptocurrencies are pseudonymous - meaning that transactions and accounts are not easily connected to real-world identities - it means they are often used for illegal activities such as money laundering and tax evasion.
Cryptocurrencies are inherent to the Dark Web, a network of hidden websites from which prohibited goods and services can be purchased. The most famous of these websites was the Silk Road, which facilitated an estimated £131 million worth of illegal drug sales before being shut down in 2013.
In 2017, the high-profile WannaCry ransomware cyber attack that affected people in over 150 countries featured a demand for payment in Bitcoin, while Bitcoin was also the ransom of choice later in 2017 when hackers blackmailed the HBO network after a major cyber attack.
Although the Corporation Tax, Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax treatment of activities involving cryptocurrencies will depend on the specifics of the activities involved, HMRC has made it clear that the use of cryptocurrencies is not a way to avoid paying the tax that would ordinarily be due if the transactions in question had taken place in fiat currency. For example, in cases where businesses accept payment for goods or services in cryptocurrencies, there is no change to what constitutes revenue or how taxable profits are calculated. Equally, VAT must be dealt with in the normal way by suppliers of goods or services provided in exchange for digital currency.
Cryptocurrencies facilitate the fast and effective flow of funds, are expected to have a major impact on global business.However, as their popularity grows, so does the risk of money laundering and the potential for failing to adhere to HMRC’s tax regulations and the FCA’s financial regulations.
Our specialist business crime solicitors can provide advice and consultancy to businesses who are concerned about ensuring they are compliant with any current or upcoming regulations around cryptocurrency.
In addition, if your business is under investigation for its use of cryptocurrencies, we can provide you with the legal advice and representation you need to avoid prosecution.
Why Choose JMW?
Our business crime solicitors offer clients the unique combination of business acumen and vast experience in criminal defence law. As a result, we can offer our clients pragmatic advice on a comprehensive range of legal issues, from technical regulatory breaches to more serious misdemeanours.
We are based in the heart of Manchester’s business district, but our unique skills are in demand across the length and breadth of England and Wales, including in London, with clients recognising the benefit of our team’s vast experience and day-to-day hands-on involvement in cases.
Partner and Head of Department
Business Crime, Regulation & Driving Offences