What has happened?
Last month, Legislative Decree No. 125 of 4 October 2019 implementing Directive (EU) 2018/843 (5AMLD) (Decree 125/2019) was published in the Italian Official Gazette. The Decree will amend Legislative Decree 231/2007 setting out the Italian anti-money laundering (AML) rules at a primary level of legislation (AML Decree) with effect from 10 November 2019.
What does this mean?
Decree 125/2019 extends the definition of "providers of services related to the use of virtual currencies" under the AML Decree to also include entities providing services related to the use, trading, storage of virtual currencies and exchange services between virtual currencies and fiat currencies or digital representations of value, including those which can be exchanged into other virtual currencies - in addition to providers of services related to the issuance, offer, transfer and settlement and any other service related to the acquisition, trading and intermediation in the exchange of virtual currencies.
Moreover, Decree 125/2019 includes, among others, within the scope of the AML Decree 'custodian wallet providers’, i.e. natural or legal persons providing, to third parties, by way of their business, services to safeguard private cryptographic keys on behalf of their customers, to hold, store and transfer virtual currencies.
Both providers of services related to the use of virtual currencies and custodian wallet providers are subject to AML obligations in the performance of their activities (and no longer only with respect to the exchange of virtual currency into fiat currency or vice versa).
In addition, the definition of providers of services related to the use of virtual currencies and custodian wallet providers also covers natural or legal persons operating on-line.
This provision thus seems to capture providers established in other countries but offering their services in Italy via distance communication means only.
Please let us know if you have any question on the new Decree or its implications.
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Authored by Jeffrey Greenbaum, Claudia Colomba and Elisabetta Zeppieri