It was triggered by suspicious transactions worth more than 200 billion euros processed by a tiny Estonian branch of "Danske Bank" between 2007 and 2015. Since there is no EU-wide body responsible for such transactions, Brussels has so far relied on local regulators.
According to Reuters, however, there is a lack of cooperation. The documents state that money laundering, terrorist financing and organised crime are "still significant problems that should be addressed at Union level".
The EU Commission is therefore now proposing a new anti-money laundering authority (AMLCA). This is to form the basis for a supervisory system consisting, among other things, of national authorities.
These EU-wide anti-money laundering rules are to be made binding on the member states immediately. According to the documents, this should prevent criminals from exploiting the differences between national supervisory authorities.
Crypto service providers under obligation
Another proposal is to introduce new requirements for crypto service providers within the European Union. Accordingly, data on the principals and beneficiaries of crypto-transfers such as Bitcoin or Ethereum are to be collected and made available to the authorities. Corresponding due diligence requirements have long been common for bank transfers. So far, however, EU rules for financial services do not apply to the transfer of virtual assets. Reuters quotes from the documents as follows:
"The lack of such rules leaves crypto-asset holders at risk of money laundering and terrorist financing, as flows of illicit money can occur through crypto-asset transfers."
Sven Giegold, finance spokesperson for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, adds:
"The EU Commission's proposals are a major step forward against money laundering. The project strengthens our European internal market against organised financial crime."
The planned regulations would create a common legal basis and effective anti-money laundering supervision in Europe. The package is suitable to create the necessary uniform standards against money laundering in Europe. The proposals are to be adopted by the EU Commission on 20 July. Then the approval of the European Parliament and the Council of Member States is still necessary.
While many within the crypto community are critical of such regulatory intentions, EU-wide regulation could have a positive impact on the growth of the industry. MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, for example, believes that large institutional investors will only enter cryptocurrencies in a big way once a secure legal environment has been created through regulation.