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France’s Finance Minister Proposes Stamping Out Anonymous Transactions

Reading Time: 2 minutes by on December 24, 2015 News, Regulation
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France’s finance minister Michel Sapin has proposed making all digital transactions transparent in an attempt to counteract terrorism financing.

Sapin has called for uniform rulings for all member-states of the European Union to combat terrorism financing that is being facilitated by innovative solutions such as digital currencies, according to reports from Sputnik France.

“There mustn’t be a ban on these technologies that are being misused but we need to try to understand what we can do to make transactions transparent,” Sapin said. “This depends on the quality of the exchange of information between countries.”

Earlier this month, EU finance ministers gathered in Brussels to discuss a French-led initiative to better track and prevent terrorist funding across the EU.

The ministers all agreed to collaborate on the fight against terrorism financing as “an immediate priority,” according to Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Commission’s vice president.

A French 13-page discussion paper recommended the creation of national centralized bank-account registers. Police would have access to these registers when tracking terrorists.

Additionally, France called for the implementation of identity checks on “anonymous” transactions within the EU with stricter rules to electronic and digital currencies such as bitcoin but also prepaid cards.

“Terrorists can use all the new technologies to transfer money everywhere,” Sapin said.

Terrorist funding would typically take the form of small transactions but would have “a considerable impact,” Sapin said. “To avoid these terrorist attacks, we need to reinforce the control of these small transactions.”

According to French authorities, the terrorists that authored the Paris attacks on November 13, which killed at least 130 people, used prepaid cards to transfer money from France to Belgium.

Last month, three deputies of France’s far-right National Front, Florian Philippot, Sophie Montel and Dominique Bilde, submitted a motion (No. B8-1366/2015) for a European Parliament resolution, aiming to grant member-states the power to “exercise stricter control over all virtual currency exchange transactions and even to prohibit them.”

Following the Paris carnage, EU interior and justice ministers met in Brussels for a crisis meeting, reported Reuters.

The gathering aimed to urge the European Commission to propose strict measures to “strengthen controls of non-banking payment methods such as electronic/anonymous payments and virtual currencies and transfers of gold, precious metals, by prepaid cards,” according to draft conclusions of the meeting.

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