EU: What does new anti-money laundering directive mean in detail?

The compromise reached last Friday by representatives of EU states and MEPs on the new anti-money laundering directive is not yet final. However, here are the most important issues that will affect trade in crypto currencies.

As we have already said, after tough negotiations last week, representatives of the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the Member States agreed on a new EU-wide anti-money laundering directive. The compromise is far from having all the demands to better detect and sanction tax offenses. The opposition of the EU member states has failed many of Parliament’s proposals. Further details about the negotiated and rejected points can be found in the blog of the Green MEP Sven Giegold. One thing is for sure: it goes on and on in the direction of regulation. The circle of companies affected by the planned regulation will also be extended to providers of electronic purses and exchange offices for virtual currencies. As usual, it was officially about the containment of money laundering, tax evasion and terrorist financing.

Goodbye pseudo-anonymous transfers?

It is planned to have a central database linking the names and addresses of EU investors with the Wallet addresses. There, investigators with a legitimate interest could check at any time which EU citizens were involved in transfers. If you do not like that, you have to find a wallet provider outside the EU zone in about two years. BaFin and other regulatory authorities have repeatedly demanded in the past that the same rules should apply to trading in virtual currencies as they would for conventional foreign exchange and commodities trading.

 

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In such transactions, financial service providers are required to maintain the identity of their clients. Anonymous transactions are also prohibited under the new Anti-Money Laundering Directive. It remains to be seen how the EU wants to deal with the already known loopholes of technical nature. What about anonymous currencies like Monero? How to deal with mixed bitcoin balances whose origins have been blurred with much effort, just to name two examples.

Tax Offices should be informed automatically

In any case, more and more tax offices should come into play, which in rural areas can not yet be taxed on income due to the trading of cryptocurrencies. It is planned a legally required communication to the responsible tax office as soon as the wallet balance of an EU citizen converted into fiat money, so for example to be paid out to the current account of the investor. For the time being, the automatic releases according to the media are only valid for trading Bitcoin. Regardless of the type of digital currency, such profits are subject to income tax, but here too, there are already exemption limits and exceptions, as usual in tax law.

Conclusion

Everything is still the same. It also remains to be seen whether the new regulation will actually be adopted in this form by the European Parliament and all EU states. One thing is certain: as soon as this happens, the German legislator would also have to convert the new directive into national law within 18 months. It will take some time before we are affected by the new anti-money laundering directive. In addition, the measures on closer inspection are not quite as complete as the legislature would like.

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