Irish Government Passes Anti Money Laundering Bill

As per the reports released by the Irish times as on 3rd January, the Cabinet representing the executive body of the Government of Ireland has passed a bill that will create an impact on the European Union (EU) Fifth Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Directive. The member states of the European Nation are required to integrate the said directives into their respective national laws by January 20, 2020.

The AML guidelines which came into effect from 9th of July 2018 is bound to assist the European Financial regulators to create an upgraded legal structure that will help to monitor and regulate the transactions of digital currencies, protect such transactions from the activities of money laundering and terrorism financing and thereby will ensure safety and security with regards to consumer interest.

Explaining the coverage, it was specifically reported that the directive would focus on crypto platforms and wallet providers, will end the anonymity of bank and savings accounts and will smoothen the exchange of information among authorities.

Along with the EU directive being issued with regards to AML, the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill 2019 will lay down more restrictions concerning the current legislation, including the use of “virtual currencies for terrorist financing and limiting the use of prepaid cards.”

As stated by the Minister of Justice Charlie Flanagan “The reality is that money laundering is a crime that helps serious criminals and terrorists to function, destroying lives in the process… Criminals seek to exploit the EU’s open borders, and EU-wide measures are vital for that reason. Ireland strongly supports the provisions in the fifth EU money laundering directive.”

Once the bill gets approved, then all the financial institutions are bound to follow strict rules and regulations and imbibe stronger due-diligence process with respect to new clients which shall no longer allow opening of anonymous safe deposit boxes. Further, for the effective execution of investigation activities associated with money laundering operations, the bill will allow the Garda and the Criminal Assets Bureau to retrieve the required bank records.

During the previous month, a case was made by the European Union Blockchain Observatory and Forum for the digital versions of national currencies on a blockchain which quoted that: “Putting digital versions of national currencies on the blockchain means they could then become integral parts of smart contracts. That would unlock much of the potential innovation of blockchain by allowing parties to create automated agreements, including direct transactions in these currencies, instead of having to use a cryptocurrency as a proxy.”

The Fintech start-up Revolut had obtained a EU banking license from the Bank of Lithuania earlier in December. Also, there are speculations that Revolut’s users who are situated in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Poland may get a “true current account and a non-prepaid debit card.” Furthermore, users’ deposits will also be protected up to €100,000 (about $113,500) under the European Deposit Insurance Scheme.

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