Europe’s anti-money laundering and terrorist financing (AML/CFT) watchdog, MONEYVAL, has listed oversight of the cryptocurrency sector along with “gatekeeper” professionals, such as lawyers and accountants, as priorities in boosting of European nations to combat money laundering.
In a press release based on the findings of its annual report, MONEYVAL urged European jurisdictions to assess compliance with international standards and implement stricter regulatory policies to combat money laundering facilitated by crypto assets.
Elżbieta Frankow-Jaśkiewicz, director of MONEVYAL, cited the Pandora Papers as an example of how professionals acting as “gatekeepers” could help the rich and corrupt launder their money. He also stated that the popularity of crypto assets for money laundering is on the rise:
“A new money laundering trend is related to the emerging virtual asset sector, the growing global use of cryptocurrencies, and other components of the rapidly evolving ecosystem of so-called “decentralized finance” (DeFi).”
Moneyval is a Council of Europe AML supervisory body, covering 47 European jurisdictions. The task force is responsible for reviewing and recommending policy changes that influence national legislative reforms.
The report concluded that the median level of compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards is below the satisfactory threshold among its supervised jurisdictions.. Eighteen of the 22 jurisdictions evaluated by MONEYVAL showed an insufficient level of compliance with AML standards.
The European watchdog will also carry out a separate study to examine money laundering trends related to virtual assets later this year.
While regulatory authorities continue to raise concerns about the use of cryptocurrencies for money laundering and other illicit activities, the most recent data from blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis suggests that less than 1% of the total cryptocurrency supply in circulation was used. for illegal activities in 2021.
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