Italy has published new anti-money laundering (AML) rules for crypto firms, according to a gazette dated Feb. 14.
The rules, which were approved in January, outline registration and reporting requirements for virtual asset service providers (VASP) that align with the European Union’s fifth AML directive and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) guidelines for crypto firms. Their publication in Italy’s formal journal of record indicates the rules are ready to take effect.
The document specifies what is required of VASPs to be registered in a special roster for crypto firms. According to the document, registration in the roster maintained by is required if firms are to offer any digital-asset related services in the country.
The new rules were published just as lawmakers in the European Union (EU) are getting ready to begin discussions on the proposed regulatory package for crypto assets. The Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) package seeks to set EU-level standards and requirements for cryptocurrency issuers, service providers and users.
Most notably, it is looking to set up a passportable license for crypto firms which would allow companies to easily operate in all EU-member states if they are fully registered and compliant in one EU jurisdiction.
However, Italy’s new rules include a requirement that doesn’t quite align with the EU’s ambitious passportable license for VASPs.
In order to qualify for registration in the special roster for approved VASPs in Italy, all entities must comply with Article 17-bis of a 2008 directive related to credit contracts, the document says.
According to the Article, any VASP from another EU country must have a permanent establishment or “stabile organizzazione” in Italy to be able to register as an approved VASP.
A report on the new rules published by Lexia Avvocati, an independent Italian law firm, interprets “stabile organizzazione” to mean a branch or subsidiary.
“Accordingly, VASPs that are incorporated in other EU Member States will have to set up an Italian branch or subsidiary in order to operate with Italian customers. VASPs established in third countries will have to incorporate an Italian subsidiary,” the report said.
In addition to the registration requirement, the document says VASPs must report all information required under the AML regulations to the Organismo Agenti e Mediatori (the body responsible for overseeing the VASP roster) at the end of each quarter. The VASP registry will be set up within 90 days of the publication of this document.