Cyprus fights crypto crime

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Cyprus has joined the big boys in the digital currency sphere, becoming a training hub for law enforcement agencies worldwide.

The Mediterranean island is stepping up in the digital world as it ventures into training law enforcement in dealing with crime related to cryptocurrencies.

The University of Nicosia was awarded the task of training officers of the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) while agreeing with the Dubai Police force to handle cases involving cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.

CEPOL has just selected UNIC to design and implement a course on “Financial investigation on Virtual Currencies”.

The course will be implemented in mid-2022 by UNIC’s newly established Institute of Public, Cyber and National Security, collaborating with the Institute for the Future.

Both institutes are under the umbrella of the University of Nicosia.

In comments to the Financial Mirror, Professor George Giaglis, head of the Institute for the Future, said: “The course aims to enhance the capacity of specialised financial investigators to gather evidence, trace, recover and manage virtual currencies”.

Giaglis said the course would help officers fight against financial crimes by strengthening multidisciplinary cooperation in financial investigations on cryptocurrencies, particularly by developing cooperation between law enforcement and judicial authorities.

“UNIC has been selected by CEPOL after reaching the highest rating within a group of bidders for this specific course which will be designed specifically for law enforcement officials and judges/prosecutors involved in cryptocurrency financial investigations”.

Former FBI investigators specialising in fighting digital crime and handling cases involving money laundering using cryptocurrencies will also be brought on board as teaching staff.

In a separate development, UNIC agreed with the Dubai police to offer a similar course to local officers investigating cryptocurrency and blockchain crimes.

“The 3-year MoU signals an exciting partnership that will evolve the studies and practical application of blockchain and digital currency in the law enforcement field, offering all Dubai police officers the opportunity to pursue UNIC’s leading MSc in Blockchain and Digital Currency, either on-campus or online.”

The first two Dubai police officers have already enrolled with the university and are taking part in classes at the university campus.

“The memorandum, signed on Wednesday, foresees that five Dubai officers will be joining our MSc course every year.”

The partnership also entails offering joint activities in areas of common interest, including educational events such as webinars and workshops developed specifically for the Dubai Police.

Dr Charis Savvides, Advocate and Law Lecturer at the University of Nicosia, delivered an hour-long training on “Blockchain & Digital Currency and Law Enforcement” to Dubai Police employees.

They were introduced to key topics: Understanding Technology & Crypto Transactions, Conducting Cryptocurrency Fraud Investigations, Blockchain as a Tool for Law Enforcers.

Giaglis said the two deals would help put Cyprus on the digital map, promoting the island as an educational hub on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.

The Institute of Public, Cyber and National Security (IPCNS) of the University of Nicosia is a newly established multidisciplinary Institute founded in 2019 by the former Chief of Cyprus Police, Zacharias Chrysostomou.

The IPCNS has adopted an innovative approach bringing together the whole spectrum of disciplines that contribute to public and national security.

The Institute For the Future is an interdisciplinary research centre to advance emerging technologies and contribute to their effective application in industry, government, and education.