The FBI is announcing the creation of the Virtual Assets Unit (VAU), a nerve center for the FBI’s virtual currency programs where intelligence, technology, and operational support will flow to other divisions. In the VAU, virtual currency experts and cross-divisional resources are embedded in a task force setting to seamlessly integrate intelligence and operations across the FBI.
Virtual currency is used to facilitate nearly every type of online criminal activity, including ransomware attacks, child exploitation, and furthering the activities of hostile nation states. Over the past several months, the Criminal Investigative and the Cyber Divisions developed the VAU as part of the FBI’s strategic plan to address the growing need for virtual asset expertise in the law enforcement and intelligence communities. The VAU will allow the FBI to continue to aggressively track the movement of illicit funds, attribute criminal actors, and disrupt illegal activity.
“The FBI’s new Virtual Assets Unit is the result of collaboration, hard work, and strategic vision from FBI employees who came together to establish a virtual currency center of excellence in the FBI,” said Brian C. Turner, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch. “The FBI has a long history of using virtual currency to track criminals profiting from ransomware, soliciting murders-for-hire, and raising funds for terrorist organizations. The VAU will integrate experts across the organization to leverage the outstanding work being done every day.”
The VAU became operational on February 7, 2022 and is led by Criminal Investigative Division’s Financial Crimes Section.