Ireland adopts EU anti-money laundering directive

Ireland is to adopt the latest European Union anti-money laundering directive, bringing the country in line with the current European framework on money laundering and terrorism financing, according to reports.

In a move set to impact firms including digital currency exchanges in the country, the Cabinet of Ireland gave their approval to a bill that transposes the criminal justice aspects of the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5) into national law.

The measures will work alongside existing legislation to strengthen the laws regulating digital currency firms, bringing them in line with the requirements on other types of financial operators.

The new Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 received the approval of Ireland’s Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee.

According to a statement announcing the move, the amendments will give the requirements of the directive a statutory footing for the first time.

“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 measures will also see Ireland meeting its obligations to the Financial Action Task Force, in line with its regulations on new technologies.

Originally introduced into law by the EU on July 9, 2018, Member States were instructed to incorporate the AMLD5 regulations into domestic law by January 2020.

Minister McEntee described the measures as “an important step” in the fightback against money laundering and terrorism financing in Ireland.

“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.”

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