Italian Financial Regulator Issues Cease and Desist Order to Crypto-Related Project
The financial regulator of Italy has barred a cryptocurrency-related project from operations for the provision of allegedly unauthorized investment services, according to an official statement published Dec. 14.
Founded in 1974, the Italian National Commission for Companies and the Stock Exchange or Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB) is the government authority of Italy responsible for regulating the Italian securities market.
The company prohibited by the CONSOB, Avacrypto, allegedly offered its services to the Italian public without the required authorization, including operating through the website www.avacrypto.com. At press time, Avacrypto’s website is not accessible.
Earlier in December, the CONSOB suspended two other projects for a 90-day period for allegedly offering fraudulent cryptocurrency investment schemes. Both firms suspended by the CONSOB Bitsurge Token and Green Energy Certificates are allegedly scam projects from Avalon Life, a company that is not based in the European Union (EU).
While there is no established regulation in regards to digital currencies in Italy, the country’s Treasury Department of the Ministry of Economy and Finance had been working on a decree in the spring that aims to classify the use of crypto in the country. The decree was specifically set to define how and when “service providers related to the use of digital currency” should report their activities to the Ministry.
The legislation aims to avoid any unlawful activity associated with cryptocurrencies, in particular money laundering. However, compliance with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws when acting with cryptocurrencies on a professional level had already been clarified on May 25, 2017, in the Legislative Decree № 90.
The definition of “virtual currency” is explained in the decree as a: “digital representation of value, not issued by a central bank or a public authority, not necessarily related to a fiat currency, used as a tool of exchange for purchasing goods or services, and electronically transferred, stored and traded.”
Later in June, Fabio Panetta, deputy governor of the Bank of Italy, shared his views concerning central bank digital currencies.
Panetta stated that a key potential justification for their issuance was to reduce costs in the production, transportation and disposal of cash. He also considered their advantages as “at best unclear” when compared with the existing digital payment mechanisms offered by the private sector.