Ireland Approves Anti-Money Laundering Bill Targeting Crypto

The bill will affect all crypto businesses operating from the country.

The Irish Cabinet has recently approved a new bill imposing tougher laws to tackle money laundering activities and explicitly mentioned the use of cryptocurrencies in terror financing, according to a report by the Irish Times.

The proposed laws restrict the use of “virtual currencies for terrorist financing and limiting the use of prepaid cards” and also toughens the existing laws for financial transactions to and from “high-risk third countries.”

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This bill is an amendment to the existing criminal justice laws and would give effect to the European Union’s (EU) fifth anti-money laundering (AML) directive. It also empowers the Garda and the Criminal Assets Bureau to access bank records when investigating money laundering cases.

Commenting on this bill, Charlie Flanagan, Ireland’s Minister of Justice, said: “The reality is that money laundering is a crime that helps serious criminals and terrorists to function, destroying lives in the process.”

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“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,” he added.

If the bill passes, the new laws would require banks and other financial institutions to carry out stricter due diligence before taking on new clients. Moreover, it will restrict credit and financial institutions from creating anonymous safe deposit boxes.

Crypto in Ireland

Ireland is believed to be one of the crypto-friendliest countries in the world. Many major exchanges like Coinbase and CoinZoom are operating their European businesses from the Irish capital.

Last year, Ireland was one of the signatories among 22 European countries to establish a European Blockchain Partnership for the new trending technology. Moreover, the Blockchain Association of Ireland was formed to “position [the country] as a dominant force on the world stage.”

“[The Government is building] a very robust legal framework and further developing vital expertise within An Garda Síochána. My message to criminals is clear: those engaging in corruption or money laundering in Ireland will not get away with their crimes,” the Minister concluded.

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