BVI amends AML regulations to cover VASPs
The amendments are primarily aimed at maintaining compliance with the evolving Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards. As of 1 December 2022, they bring virtual assets service providers (VASPs) conducting virtual assets transactions above USD1,000 into the scope of the anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. This is considered essential in light of the jurisdiction increasingly being used as a domicile by persons engaged in blockchain and virtual assets businesses.
Until now, many types of crypto- and blockchain-related businesses have not been within the scope of existing BVI financial services regulatory legislation, so their operations were not strictly subject to the statutory due-diligence procedures and controls established by the AML regulations and code, says law firm Ogier. However, many did comply on a voluntary basis and this best practice is now being made compulsory for most service providers for the first time. More specific VASP regulatory legislation is expected to be released towards the end of 2022 in the Virtual Assets Service Providers Act, requiring registration and reporting by VASPs.
BVI Finance has also confirmed that the latest amendments to the BVI Business Companies Act (Revised 2020) will abolish bearer shares, in accordance with FATF Recommendation 24. Companies will no longer be permitted to issue bearer shares, convert registered shares to bearer shares nor exchange registered shares for bearer shares. Existing bearer shares will automatically convert to registered shares on 1 July 2023.
An amended version of the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Code of Practice is also expected to appear soon.
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