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Italy’s Securities Regulator Shuts Down Two Crypto Trading Sites

Italy’s securities regulator has intensified its clampdown on illegal crypto trading by ordering two crypto-related trading sites closed.

The two crypto sites are among eight websites the Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB) has accused of violating the law. The other six are foreign exchange platforms whose operations Consob says promote illegal trading products.

According to CONSOB, and as published by news outlet Finance Magnates, the eight sites had no licenses required for them to offer FX, crypto and CFD services. The securities regulator has therefore asked Italy’s ISPs to block access to the sites.

The regulator’s move follows a recent clarification regarding the Consolidated Law on Finance (TUF) and Mifid2 regulations. The law allows the securities watchdog to ask any investment firm or broker to cease its operations in Italy if it fails to acquire the requisite licenses. Included in the loop are platforms registered and regulated in other EU states and which look to offer their services in Italy via passporting.

Italy’s securities regulator has over the past few months tightened its clampdown on illegal trading sites. Under the law, the agency has the authority to protect investors from potential harm occasioned by access exchanges and brokerages.

In December, CONSOB shut down two brokerage firms registered and licensed by the Cyprus Securities and Exchanges Commission (CySEC). The two firms – 24Option and Hoch Capital Ltd – ceased operations after the regulator ordered their websites shut. To date, the regulator has sought to block up to 150 domains.

 EU and U.K Regulators tighten KYC and AML checks

EU countries continue to implement the Fifth Anti Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5) that puts crypto exchanges and brokers under the same regulatory scope as banks.

The directive was published in June 2018, with all EU member states mandated to implement it by January 10, 2020. Directive (EU) 2018/843 (AMLD5) extends the “customer due diligence” measures applicable to banks to cryptocurrency exchanges and brokers.

On Friday, the Swiss regulator Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) proposed changes to its regulations on crypto transactions. As per FINMA, all crypto transactions above 1,000 Swiss francs (about $1,025) will be subject to customer identification and reporting. It follows the June 2019 guidance by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on money-laundering.

Meanwhile, the U.K’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has stepped up its regulatory scrutiny following Brexit. The FCA now obligates crypto exchanges and brokerages to undertake know-your-customer (KYC) checks and implement anti-money laundering (AML) measures.

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