Ireland has introduced powerful new laws to target criminals using crypto to conceal their illicit profits.
The Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill 2019 bolsters existing anti-laundering legislation and incorporates EU legislation.
The bill has provisions for virtual currencies being used for terror financing and adds measures to regulate transfers to and from high-risk third-world countries.
Minister Charlie Flanagan said the bill will help in the fight against organised crime.
He told Irish media: “My message to criminals is clear: those engaging in corruption or money laundering in Ireland will not get away with their crimes.”
“This is another important piece of legislation for tackling money laundering.
“The reality is that money laundering is a crime that helps serious criminals and terrorists to function, destroying lives in the process.
“Criminals seek to exploit the EU’s open borders, and EU-wide measures are vital for that reason.”
Last month, the Irish High Court ruled that cryptocurrency held by a convicted drug dealer is classed as the proceeds of crime.
The 2,000 units of Ethereum owned by Neil Mannion, who is serving a 6½-year jail sentence after admitting drug offences in 2015, were discovered by the Criminal Assets Bureau.
The Irish Times reported that the Ethereum was not seized along with other assets, including credit cards and bank accounts, at the time because the currency had not started trading.