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Ireland to adopt EU’s AML directive into national law

The bill improves transparency and places safeguards on transactions with high-risk countries and brings virtual currency providers under present AML regulations

The European Union’s Fifth Anti Money Directive (AMLD 5), which was aimed at enabling European financial watchdogs to regulate digital currencies against money laundering (AML), will be transposed into Ireland’s National Law.

The Cabinet of Ireland approved a bill to include the criminal justice elements of the EU’s latest legal framework for the prevention of money laundering this week, thereby strengthening the country’s existing legislation.

Following approval from the cabinet, Ireland’s Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee, is ready to publish the new bill titled The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. Minister McEntee will now present the bill for discussion in both houses of parliament, after which approval for the bill will officially be part of Ireland’s national legislation.

Important provisions for the AML framework includes improving safeguards for financial transactions to and from high-risk third countries, setting new limits on the use of anonymous prepaid cards, and enhancing Customer Due Diligence (CDD) requirements of existing legislation that have been made part of Ireland’s amendment.

The bill further brings virtual currency providers and online wallet providers for virtual currencies, as well as dealers and intermediaries in the art trade under existing AML and counter financing regulations.

An official government note accompanying news of the publication of the bill stated:

“The Minister for Finance has also secured Government Approval to bring forward amendments in respect of the regulation of Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) […] the amendments will ensure that the necessary registration and fitness and probity regime, required by 5AMLD for virtual asset service providers, become statutory requirements.”

The note also indicated that the proposed changes will enable Ireland to meet its international obligations in line with the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) regulatory framework for new technologies, products and practices.

“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,” Minister McEntee said.

AMLD5 came into force in July 2018 and the EU directed all member states to incorporate the directive into respective national laws by January 2020. Ireland was fined two million euros for the delay, bringing the country’s AML and CFT rules into line with the rest of the bloc.

Written by Harshini Nag

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