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Austrian FMA assesses AML measures introduced

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Almost a year ago, the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) introduced stricter crypto regulations. Now the tax authorities took stock.

It has been a year since the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) took the crypto decision

At that time, the exchange regulator introduced stricter regulations for service providers of virtual currencies. Since then, crypto providers with business activities in Austria or from within the country have had to register with the financial market authority. The aim of the new provisions: the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. On January 7, the tax authorities moved in a press release a first conclusion.

According to the FMA, since the regulation came into force, 40 providers have asked the exchange supervisory authority for approval. The request was granted to 18 companies. These are mainly companies that operate „electronic wallets and exchange platforms“. The board members of the tax authority, Helmut Ettl and Eduard Müller, said about the one-year existence of the new legislation:

The FMA pursues a clear zero tolerance approach in the area of ​​money laundering and terrorist financing. Aware of the risks associated with virtual currencies, we closed another gap in the previous year and introduced the registration requirement for companies that are active in this area.

Admission is based on certain criteria. This includes the size of the company, the business model offered with the associated risks of abuse through money laundering and terrorist financing as well as the principle of proportionality and the existence of a risk-based supervisory approach.

The aim is to adjust the size of the company and its business volume as well as the risk content of the service and the business model appropriately to the supervision intensity of the tax authority. In addition, while maintaining technology neutrality, potential risk factors are also to be identified and mitigated. This includes exploiting anonymity and hiding the source of the funds.

Financial authorities fail in the fight against money laundering

The FinCEN files that became known in September of last year make it clear that banks and financial authorities such as the FMA around the world have room for improvement when it comes to combating money laundering. The leak from the US Treasury Department is documents that prove that large financial institutions such as JPMorgan, HSBC, Barclays or Deutsche Bank moved large sums of money from criminals or other controversial people, even though they were actually on sanction lists. In total, almost two trillion US dollars are said to have been transferred. That is more than three times the market capitalization of Bitcoin.