EU Takes Control of Cryptocurrencies // European Commission Updates Anti-Money Laundering Rules

The European Commission has published a draft of new rules for combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism – a package of measures provides for the creation of a supranational regulator common for all EU countries in this area and involves tightening the requirements for the circulation of crypto assets. Payment service providers will have to collect information about the senders and recipients of transfers in virtual assets – similar to conventional electronic payments.

The European Commission (EC) has presented a plan to launch a new supranational regulator – the Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA). The commission estimates that about 1% of the EU’s annual GDP is now involved in suspicious financial activity. It is assumed that the new structure will be created by 2024, it will coordinate at the EU level the work of the national authorities on the application of the updated common rules of the union and the supervisory authorities responsible for financial and non-financial organizations.

Also, AMLA will directly control some of the most risky financial institutions that operate in a large number of EU countries or require intervention to eliminate risks. For approval, these proposals by the EC must be approved by representatives of all countries, as well as the European Parliament.

The regulation of the circulation of virtual assets (primarily cryptocurrencies) will change significantly compared to the current regime.

The EC proposes to eliminate the regulatory gap and extend control fully to such assets – to ban anonymous electronic wallets for cryptocurrencies in the EU and introduce the requirement to disclose full information about the sender and recipient. This information will be provided by cryptoasset payment service providers on all transfers – just as it does with wire transfers. This will allow tracing suspicious transactions and, if necessary, block them, explains the EC.

We saw cross-border potential in digital currencies

Access to information on traditional accounts will also be facilitated. The existing EU legislation already requires the creation of special registers or mechanisms in the countries of the union to obtain information about bank accounts and their owners. The EC is now proposing to create a cross-border system linking these national registers or mechanisms. “This will allow law enforcement agencies to quickly determine if a suspect has bank accounts in other EU member states, and therefore simplifies financial investigations and asset recovery in international affairs,” explains the EC.

In addition, the European Commission proposes to create in the EU lists of third countries, similar to the list of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF).

There are now 22 countries on this list, including one EU member – Malta. At the same time, the European Union will be able to include in these lists states that are not included in the FATF list, but pose a threat to the EU financial system. The European Union is already drawing up black and gray lists of tax haven countries and regularly correcting them. Finally, one more measure will affect cash transactions – it is proposed to set a limit common for all EU countries – cash payments will not have to exceed € 10 thousand.

Tatiana Edovina

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *