Israel’s finance minister Moshe Kahlon has signed draft legislation which has been introduced to combat cryptocurrency money laundering in the Middle Eastern state, writes Israeli business source Globes.
The new draft notice is an addition to an existing law, due to be introduced into legislation in June of this year. The money laundering legislation will now include digital currency for the first time and explains:
“The definition of a service in connection with financial assets is being expanded beyond currency services, to includes all activities and services performed by a business in connection with financial assets that does not include credit.”
The digital currency assets are described as “financial services other than tangible assets or standard financial means, in a field that has been developing in recent years”, referring quite clearly to cryptocurrencies.
Manny Rosenfeld, head of the Israel Bitcoin Association, was optimistic about the new draft explaining that such new regulations will add a much-needed degree of certainty into Israel’s crypto space and was impressed how quickly the government has responded to their request for changes several weeks ago:
“The new order will give certainty for those involved in the field, and will define rules that are permitted and forbidden, which will enable banks and financial institutions to know who is compliant with the law, and whose money they can safely receive.”
This is the second fast reaction this year by the Israel Anti-Money Laundering Authority. An earlier case this year initiated by tech company Bits of Gold won its application for clearer legal definition, although the company’s risk manager, Yal Naaman, was dismayed that the government agency was unable to specify in its description reference to biometric face recognition. However, Naaman was pleased with the new law:
“The Israel Anti-Money Laundering Authority has acted quickly and we hope that its move will bring order to the market. This would enable the identification of a customer without requiring physical access. We call on the authority to add this to the final order.”
There have been frequent cases many of Israel’s banks refusing to accept cryptocurrency-related money, and on two occasions banks were forced to accept the money after being taken to court. earlier in the year Israel’s largest bank, Bank Hapoalim, was found to have unlawfully blocked a money transfer of USD 195,00 coming from a European cryptocurrency exchange platform, citing unsubstantiated claims of suspected money laundering and terrorist financing.
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