Crypto-assets: new rules to stop illicit flows in the EU | News

On Thursday, MEPs from the Economic and Monetary Affairs and Civil Liberties Committees adopted by 93 votes for, 14 against and 14 abstentions, their position on the draft law aimed at strengthening EU rules against money laundering. and the financing of terrorism.

Traceability of crypto-asset transfers

Under new requirements approved by MPs, all transfers of crypto-assets will need to be accompanied by information regarding sources and recipients. This information should be made available at the request of the competent authorities. The rules would also cover transactions made from so-called non-hosted wallets (a crypto-asset wallet address that is under the ownership of a private user). Technological solutions should ensure that transfers of crypto-assets can be individually identified.

The objective is to ensure the traceability of crypto-asset transfers and to block suspicious transactions. The rules should not apply to person-to-person transfers of crypto-assets carried out without a provider, such as bitcoin exchanges, or between providers acting on their own behalf.

No minimum threshold

Due to their speed and virtual nature, crypto-asset transactions can easily circumvent existing rules based on transaction thresholds. MEPs decided to remove minimum thresholds and exemptions for low-value crypto-asset transfers.

Public Register of High Risk Entities

MEPs want the European Banking Authority (EBA) to create a public register of crypto-asset entities and services at high risk of money laundering, terrorist financing and other criminal activities, including a non-exhaustive list of providers not compliant.

Before making crypto-assets available to beneficiaries, providers should verify whether the source from which they emanate is not subject to restrictive measures or that there is no risk of money laundering or terrorism.

Quotes

Ernest Urtasun (Greens/EFA, ES), co-rapporteur for the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, said: “Illicit flows of crypto-assets go largely unnoticed across the EU and the world, making them ideal instruments to ensure anonymity As past money laundering scandals ranging from the Panama Papers to the Pandora Papers have shown, criminals multiply where anonymity is guaranteed due to confidentiality rules. this legislative proposal, the EU will fill this gap.”

Assita Kanko (ECR, BE), co-rapporteur of the Civil Liberties Committee, underlined: “Our report reflects two objectives: to protect and to normalize. All people of good will should be encouraged to use crypto-assets correctly and in safe, just as they should be protected against the use of crypto-assets for terrorist financing, extortion, child pornography or money laundering. -assets as it evolves, building rules that build trust. It’s been over a decade since bitcoin was created. It’s time we took these important steps for our citizens.”

Next steps

The adopted text is the draft mandate for MEPs to start negotiations with EU governments on the final form of the legislation. The EP is expected to vote on this file during the April plenary session.

context

The regulation is part of the new anti-money laundering package which includes measures to strengthen EU rules in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. It develops solutions to the shortcomings of the existing framework, which testifies to ineffective implementation, faulty monitoring and insufficient detection of suspicious transactions.

For the time being, in the EU, there are no rules making it possible to trace the transfers of crypto-assets or providing information on the initiator/beneficiary of such transfers.

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