Ten million fine and disqualification for managers: sanctions for cryptocurrency platforms that do not register with the Bank of Spain

Cryptocurrency exchange and custody platforms that operate in Spain must be registered in respective listings of the Bank of Spain (BdE) and Sepblac (supervisory authority for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing).

This obligation is included in Royal Decree Law 7/2021 approved this Tuesday by the Council of Ministers that transposes the fifth European Directive on money laundering. The rule, published on Wednesday in the Official State Gazette (BOE), obliges cryptocurrency service operators to comply with tax fraud and money laundering prevention measures.

According to the new regulations, crypto-asset exchange and sale companies will have to sign up within nine months in the Registry of Exchange Service Providers Platforms at the Bank of Spain.

Likewise, according to what is stated in the BOE, cryptocurrency companies must appoint a representative before Sepblac and comply with the regulations on prevention and money laundering.

Firms that evade the Bank of Spain registration could face sanctions ranging between 150,000 euros and 10 million euros, while companies not registered with Sepblac or that do not comply with the established obligations will face sanctions ranging from 60,000 euros to 5 million euros. Sanctions may also be imposed on responsible managers, who could be disqualified for five years.

Fernando Ramos, managing partner of the firm DPO IT Law, believes that the royal decree law approved this Tuesday does not set a deadline for the affected subjects or companies to adapt to the law, which may imply that many companies do not have enough time to comply with the regulations without being sanctioned by Sepblac.

Ángel Luis Quesada, director of the Spanish digital asset custody firm Onyze, considers that, although it is true that cryptocurrency companies are already obligated subjects, “this does not mean that Sepblac is going to ask us for an audit tomorrow, since this body it tends to act very gradually. “

Regarding the sanctions established, Quesada points out that they are a type of standard fines that have been incorporated into Spanish regulations for years. “It is nothing additional or different from what was already happening with other companies regulated by Sepblac.”

He agrees with Quesada Almudena de la Mata, managing partner of Blockchain Intelligence, who believes that the demands on cryptocurrency exchange and custody companies will help to improve the control of money laundering and terrorist financing activities.

“Those who have not prepared for the transposition of the directive will have to hurry to comply with the requirements already in force since the entry into force of the royal decree. These obligations are immediately fulfilled by the obligated subjects, regardless of the moment in which it occurs. its registration in the future registry of the Bank of Spain “, De la Mata has warned.

A late but applauded directive

Regarding the general assessment of the law, Quesada affirms that “the regulations arrive late but well”, since it gives stability to the cryptocurrency sector. “I think we will see a lot of criticism of this law because there are many people who have not prepared or who do not want to prepare. You have to understand that there is still a lot of crypto-anarchists in this world,” he stressed.

For De la Mata, this royal decree was necessary to avoid further delays in the transposition of the fifth European Directive on money laundering.

“With this transposition, greater transparency and legal security are given to the market as well as a clearer operational framework for obligated subjects, some of which were already applying control measures on a voluntary basis,” he asserted.

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