FINMA, the financial regulator in Switzerland, published a partially revised Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance on November 2. The authority enacted the revision following the recent amendments of the Anti-Money Laundering Act and the Federal Council’s Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance.
FINMA revises AML requirements for crypto assets
The Swiss Financial Markets Regulatory Authority (FINMA) published revisions of the Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance (AMLO) on November 2. After having conducted a public consultation on the matter until May 2022, FINMA published last week the revisions to the AMLO.
The Swiss financial regulators are expanding the anti-money laundering policies for crypto transactions despite the negative response from the crypto ecosystem. Under the revisions, crypto users must prove their identity if they transact with a total value of CHF 1000 ($1,015) or more within the month they exchange crypto.
According to the announcement, FINMA is concerned about the misuse of crypto assets for illegal trading and other illegal activities. The revised AMLO requires users to disclose their identity for transactions over CHF 1000 ($1,015), which will apply to all linked transactions throughout the month. A comprehensive review includes all transactions related to conversions, such as exchanging for cash or other forms of money.
In May 2022, the Swiss parliament slightly modified the Anti-Money Laundering Act. Then, in August 2022, the Federal Council announced that revisions to the Anti-Money Laundering Act comes into force and will take effect on January 1, 2023. These updates require a revision of FINMA’s AMLO. Following the provisions in the Revised Anti-Money Laundering Act, there will be no further guidance on establishing a beneficial owner identity at FINMA’s AMLO level. FINMA’s Ordinance provides additional guidance on the obligation of financial intermediaries to regulate the updating of users’ data in an internal directive. In addition, FINMA is also repealing the implementation of reporting requirements in the Anti-Money Laundering Act that transferred to the Federal Council’s Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance.
In practice, the application of the criteria for virtual assets transactions was introduced at the beginning of 2021. Due to recent risks and abuse cases, the FINMA Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance now states that the CHF 1,000 threshold is applied for linked transactions within 30 days.
However, following the responses from users, FINMA received requests to increase the amount limit to CHF 25,000. Regardless, the regulators were not willing to do so. And the revised ordinance and regulations will go into effect on January 1, 2023.
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