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EU to Impose New Checks on Crypto

Author: Syedur Rahman  18 January 2024

Syed Rahman details the European Union’s anti-money laundering measures that will affect cryptocurrency.

The crypto sector has been targeted as part of the European Union’s (EU’s) latest efforts to tackle financial crime.

The EU has reached provisional agreement on measures that will give it more powers to combat money laundering and terrorist financing that involves crypto and / or high-value assets.

When the measures come in to effect, crypto service providers will have to perform due diligence checks on all customers conducting transactions of €1,000 or more. They will be expected to play a “gatekeeper’’ role when it comes to detecting suspicious activities, as will banks, casinos, real estate agencies and other financial asset management companies.

These measures come after legislation approved in 2023 to govern crypto markets. They are part of a wider attempt to harmonise anti-money laundering rules in the EU and close loopholes that have been used by those looking to launder money and finance terrorism. Critics had previously argued that EU anti-money laundering laws were adequate but poorly enforced, with a lack of consistency between countries over how rigorously they were applied.

Provisional agreement was reached last December on creating a new European authority, AMLA, which will have far-reaching powers to track and investigate transactions to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The new measures still have to be formally approved by the EU Parliament and member states before they come into effect. When they do, they will apply to all EU countries.

They also include enhanced due diligence requirements regarding transactions associated with high-risk countries and high-value assets such as cars watches, boats and planes. Anti-money laundering checks are also set to be imposed on football clubs due to concerns about the large amounts of unchecked money passing through some of them. All cash transactions above €10,000 will now have to be registered - and could be investigated by AMLA.

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Syedur Rahman is known for his in-depth experience of serious fraud, white-collar crime and serious crime cases, as well as his expertise in worldwide asset tracing and recovery, international arbitration, civil recovery, cryptocurrency and high-stakes commercial disputes.

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