Virtual Asset Service Providers ( VASP ) - the Central Bank registration process

Cosgrove Gaynard Solicitors

The Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act 2021 was enacted on the 23rd April 2021. This piece of legislation transposed the EUs Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) into Irish law. In terms of virtual asset service providers, more commonly referred to as VASP's, this means that they are now required to comply with Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT)obligations and must register with the Central Bank.

What regulation applies to Virtual Asset Service providers - VASPs in Ireland?

The Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act 2021 was enacted on the 23rd April 2021. This piece of legislation transposed the EUs Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) into Irish law. In terms of virtual asset service providers, more commonly referred to as VASP's, this means that they are now required to comply with Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT)obligations and must register with the Central Bank.

The legislation defines VASP's as firms that provide any of the following services relating to virtual assets:

- exchange between virtual assets and fiat currencies;

- exchange between one or more forms of virtual asset;

- transfer of virtual assets;

- custodian wallet provider; and

- participation in, and provision of, financial services related to an issuer’s offer or sale of a virtual asset or both.

What is the VASP registration process with the central bank?

 

 As mentioned, VASPs are required to register with the Central Bank of Ireland since the 23 April 2021 .

 

In terms of the process the following is required:-

  1. We submit a pre-registration application form with the Central Bank.  The Central Bank will issue an institution number and we can then submit a formal registration application .
  2. Formal registration application. Along with the application, the Central Bank will require supporting documentation from the VASP.
  3. A detailed review of the VASP will be carried out by the Central Bank including a review of ownership, the organisation structure, policies and procedures. Given the nature of the regulation, an extremely strong AML/CFT policy is obviously going to be an important pre requisite but likewise we would expect ownership and organisation structure will be assessed in great detail.
  4. Once the registration is processed the VASP will be required to include  a regulation disclosure statement in any advertisement it makes for its services confirming that it is regulated by the CBI for AML/CFT purposes.  

Here at Cosgrove Gaynard Solicitors we act for a number of VASPs and in terms of the services in this particular process we can assist in:

 

1.   A review and preparation of detailed AML/CFT frameworks, policies and procedures;

2.   Assist with the application for registration of the VASP with the Central Bank from pre registration through to completion.

There is a grace period of 3 months for VASP's already established in Ireland and carrying on a business as a VASP immediately prior to the Act coming into force.

For further information and assistance on the registration process, please contact us .

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