Lithuania plans to step up virtual currency control

  • 2019-04-08
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuania plans to step up control of activity of ICO (Initial Coin Offering) companies, virtual currency exchanges and depository wallet operators, and also plans to introduce requirements for them to ensure effective prevention of money-laundering and terrorism funding.

"We want to create a transparent legal environment for virtual currency exchanges, depository wallet operators and ICO initiators. We also want to contribute to ensuring better consumer protection," Sigitas Mitkus, director of the Finance Ministry's financial market policy department, told BNS.

Under the amendments, only legal entities and their branches registered with the Center of Registers will be able to act as operators, and they will also have to execute the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing and to check client's identity and inform the Financial Crime Investigation Service about large financial transactions, he said.

Operators will be required to identify clients and check their identity before providing services if the operation value exceeds 1,000 euros, and also provide information to the FCIS, if the operation value is now less than 15,000 euros.

"By introducing limits for financial operations, we are going further beyond the EU directive and we will probably become the first in the world to implement the FATF (The Financial Action Task Force) recommendations and apply the requirements not only to the conversion of virtual currency to traditional ones and vice versa, but also when converting one virtual currency into another," Mitkus said.

The amendments are aimed at transferring the fifth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD 5) and the FATF recommendations, adopted in October, into Lithuanian law.

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