Ireland’s Anti-Money Laundering Bill Tackles Use Of Cryptocurrencies In Terrorism

News, Regulation | January 4, 2019 By:

The Irish Cabinet has approved a new bill designed to tackle money laundering, including the use of cryptocurrencies in funding terrorism.

The bill, called the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill 2019, would give effect to the European Union (EU) Fifth Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Directive, which came into force on July 9, 2018. Under the new directive, Financial Intelligence Units (FIU) will be allowed access to information which will enable them to associate cryptocurrency addresses to the identity of the owner of the cryptocurrency. The goal of the EU directive is to prevent risks associated with the use of cryptocurrencies for terrorist financing and to ensure increased transparency of financial transactions.

If the bill passes, banks and other financial institutions in Ireland will be required to carry out stricter due diligence before taking on new clients. Credit and financial institutions will be prevented from creating anonymous safe deposit boxes. The bill will also allow the Garda and the Criminal Assets Bureau to access bank records in the course of money laundering investigations.

“The reality is that money laundering is a crime that helps serious criminals and terrorists to function, destroying lives in the process,” Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said in a statement. “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.”

Flanagan added that the Irish government is building “a 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,” Flanagan said.

In May 2018, Ireland’s Office of Revenue Commissioners released a manual on the tax treatment of various transactions under cryptocurrencies. It clarified that ordinary tax rules apply, and that cryptocurrency mining would generally not be subject to VAT.