Cabinet gives green light to anti-money laundering Bill

Bill will enact EU directive and tackle use of cryptocurrencies in terrorism

The Cabinet has approved tougher laws to tackle money laundering, including the use of cryptocurrencies in funding terrorism.

The main purpose of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill 2019 is to give effect to the fifth EU money laundering directive and strengthen existing legislation.

The proposed law includes restrictions on the use of “virtual currencies for terrorist financing and limiting the use of pre-paid cards” and improves safeguards for financial transactions to and from “high-risk third countries”.

If the Bill passes, banks and other financial institutions will be required to carry out stricter due diligence before taking on new clients. Credit and financial institutions will also be prevented from creating anonymous safe deposit boxes.


Bank records

The Bill also gives new powers to the Garda and the Criminal Assets Bureau to access bank records when investigating money laundering.

"The reality is that money laundering is a crime that helps serious criminals and terrorists to function, destroying lives in the process," Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said in a statement on Thursday.

"Criminals seek to exploit the EU's open borders and EU-wide measures are vital for that reason. Ireland strongly supports the provisions in the fifth EU money laundering directive. ''

The Minister said the Government is building "a very robust legal framework and further developing vital expertise within An Garda Síochána.

“My message to criminals is clear: those engaging in corruption or money laundering in Ireland will not get away with their crimes.”

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times